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

I think there is always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly valuable. We are likewise always 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 technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically have not had access.

Inform us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you run in, primary clients, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all communities, all families, everybody ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, needs to act as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and luckily we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, however we will be announcing some brand-new places this fall

Show us a recent success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be developing a $30 million, entirely affordable and completely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 property systems, a cafe, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
I think there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. Were intending to cut utility expenses for families in half. Thats a huge deal, you understand. That amount of cash impacts the budget of everyday households
What challenges do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting a company, any company, was going to be challenging. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly hard. When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks do not desire to invest; they dont desire to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to combat here, and weve made really small, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that coalition structure is crucial. My voice just suggests a lot, however the more I can bring friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes market leaders and subjects connected to speeding up a fair and just shift to a sustainable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his proficiency and track record of developing consistent returns with a personal enthusiasm for helping transform neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas transition to a tidy economy.
FOUND OUT 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 jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas bill. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut down. For around a year in my teens, we had to boil water and bring it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely tough times, and experiences like that just stick to you. I do not care what occurs the rest of your career or what your quality of life is progressing; those moments are with you forever. As I talk about that with various groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of individuals have similar anecdotes, whichs not an advantage
The 2nd turning point was most likely 15 years earlier, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things all over the world. Individuals were can be found in to request an investment around renewable resource, and I posed a question to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is spectacular, and the expense of solar is boiling down, but how does that assistance daily individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked confused that I would even attempt inquire about the daily individuals. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households often reside in multi-family structures, and it is difficult to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to contact individual families and the expense of getting those people educated and then signing up for renewable resource is not a favorable company model.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the market forever. I stopped my job. I think I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I began my business. Since that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Everything is I do is targeted to families in those situations and focused on improving their quality of life

What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods are worthy of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners do service with you?
Today, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly trying to find partners to invest, offer financial obligation or buy some tax credits, thats the first ask. If they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities, we are likewise constantly ready to host people. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host individuals when a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that traditionally havent had gain access to. We are also going to be broadening our board. Im constantly challenging magnates to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I think that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been terrific just to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with absolutely various point of views. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge distinction.