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

I think there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are also constantly prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that historically havent had access.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment features industry leaders and topics connected to accelerating an equitable and simply shift to a sustainable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are thriving in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, 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 combine his know-how and track record of creating consistent returns with a personal passion for helping change communities and their influence on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect 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 company?
I had 2 critical minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas expense, and she was only making ten dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas expense. And so, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut down. For approximately a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and carry it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively bumpy rides, and experiences like that simply stick with you. I do not care what happens the rest of your profession or what your quality of life is progressing; those moments are with you permanently. As I speak about that with different groups around the country, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A great deal of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good idea
They looked puzzled that I would even dare ask about the daily people. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I started my business. I named it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up.

So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak straight with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. Then, if there are national corporations that can support our work that can also be a big deal. Were presently dealing with a partnership with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our tasks. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing beside us and saying “these communities are worthwhile of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners work with you?
We are likewise always prepared to host individuals 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 applying in communities that historically have not had gain access to. Im always tough 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 excellent simply to meet the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and finding out about people with totally different perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I think we are doing the finest 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.

Tell us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, main consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all communities, all families, everyone should have access. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone.

Show us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely sustainable and completely economical advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 residential systems, a coffee store, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
When individuals learn who is behind our business, I believe there is always a shock. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it. To me, thats pretty fulfilling. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is necessary is we have an economic effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty effective message. Were intending to cut energy expenditures for families in half. Thats a big offer, you understand. That quantity of cash effects the budget plan of daily households
What challenges do you face? Why?
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. I think the lesson is that coalition structure is crucial.