Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.

What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a chance to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. If there are national corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a big deal. Were presently working on a collaboration with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our projects. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods deserve investment”– you cant put a value on that
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How can prospective partners do company with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, provide financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the first ask. If they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities, we are also always willing to host people. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that traditionally havent had gain access to. We are also going to be expanding our board. Due to the fact that I believe that has genuine worth, Im always tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
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How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering people with totally different viewpoints. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
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By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes market leaders and topics connected to accelerating an equitable and simply transition to a renewable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are thriving in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his proficiency and performance history of creating consistent returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting transform neighborhoods and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a tidy economy.
CHECKED OUT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to begin your business?
I had 2 pivotal minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making ten bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas bill. A lot of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not a great thing
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The 2nd turning point was probably 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was purchasing a host of things worldwide. Individuals were coming in to request for an investment around renewable resource, and I postured a concern to them: “What you are doing with these solar companies is spectacular, and the cost of solar is boiling down, however how does that help everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their access? They are paying a disproportionate amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt inquire about the daily individuals. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income families frequently live in multi-family structures, and it is tough to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to get in touch with individual families and the expense of getting those individuals informed and then signing up for renewable resource is not a beneficial business design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the marketplace permanently. So I quit my task. I think I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I started my company. Since that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I named it 548 Capital. Everything is I do is targeted to households in those scenarios and focused on enhancing their quality of life
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I believe there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it. Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. We are also constantly ready to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people as soon as a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that traditionally havent had access.

Tell us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you run in, primary customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody needs to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.

Show us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, totally sustainable and completely inexpensive development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 domestic systems, a coffee store, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
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What impact are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it.
The other thing that I believe is crucial is we have an economic effect that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty effective message. That amount of cash effects the budget of daily households
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What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were constructing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that union building is essential.

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