Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Show us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be building a $30 million, entirely sustainable and completely affordable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential systems, a coffee shop, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have a financial effect that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty powerful message. That quantity of money impacts the budget plan of daily families
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were constructing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that coalition building is crucial.
What can organizations 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 valuable. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods are worthy of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can possible partners work with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly searching for partners to invest, offer debt or purchase some tax credits, thats the first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities, we are likewise constantly ready to host individuals. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had gain access to. We are also going to be broadening our board. Im constantly tough magnates to put their name and face on these efforts because I believe that has real value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been fantastic simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and finding out about people with completely different perspectives. I like the networking.
I think we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge distinction.
Inform us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you operate in, primary customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everyone needs to have access. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.
I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always important. We are likewise always prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation 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 traditionally havent had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment features market leaders and subjects connected to accelerating a fair and just transition to an eco-friendly energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are flourishing in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and genuine estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his know-how and track record of creating consistent returns with an individual passion for helping transform neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas transition to a clean economy.
FOUND OUT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to begin your company?
I had two essential minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas expense, and she was just making 10 bucks an hour, so we couldnt pay for the gas bill. And so, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat turned off. For approximately a year in my teens, we had to boil water and bring it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I do not care what takes place the rest of your career or what your lifestyle is moving on; those moments are with you permanently. As I speak about that with various groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A great deal of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not an advantage
The 2nd turning point was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was investing in a host of things worldwide. People were being available in to request for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I positioned a concern to them: “What you are finishing with these solar firms is spectacular, and the cost of solar is coming down, but how does that help everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt inquire about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households often live in multi-family structures, and it is tough to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you have to contact individual families and the cost of getting those individuals educated and then signing up for renewable energy is not a beneficial service design.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the market forever. I stopped my task. I think I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my company. Because that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up, I named it 548 Capital. So everything is I do is targeted to households in those situations and focused on enhancing their lifestyle