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

I think there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant believe it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are also always willing to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals as soon as a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using in neighborhoods that historically have not had gain access to.

Inform us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you run in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all communities, all households, everyone needs to have access. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.

Show us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally sustainable and entirely inexpensive development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 domestic units, a coffee bar, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who lags our business. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it. To me, thats quite rewarding. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. That quantity of cash impacts the budget of everyday families
What obstacles do you deal with? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any business, was going to be challenging. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly challenging. When I go to banks and say that were constructing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks dont wish to invest; they do not wish to partner; they dont want to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made really small, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that coalition building is essential. My voice only indicates a lot, but the more I can bring good friends to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need

What can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is incredible. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a big offer. Were presently working on a collaboration with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our jobs. Normalizing exposure, standing beside us and stating “these communities deserve investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners work with you?
We are likewise constantly prepared to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people when a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically havent had gain access to. Im always difficult leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has real worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been great simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering people with absolutely various point of views. I like 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 deliberate about the program, makes a big difference.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture 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 series.
Each installation features industry leaders and topics associated with accelerating a fair and simply shift to a renewable resource economy. In recognition 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 financing, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and performance history of creating consistent returns with an individual passion for helping change communities and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas shift to a clean economy.
LEARNT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to start your business?
I had 2 pivotal moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas costs. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
The second critical minute was probably 15 years back, as I was working for a firm that was buying a host of things around the globe. Individuals were can be found in to request a financial investment around renewable resource, and I postured a question to them: “What you are doing with these solar firms is amazing, and the expense of solar is coming down, but how does that aid everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families typically reside in multi-family buildings, and it is hard to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to contact individual households and the expense of getting those individuals educated and then registering for renewable resource is not a favorable service design.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the market permanently. I stopped my job. I believe I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my business. Since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Whatever is I do is targeted to families in those scenarios and focused on enhancing their quality of life