Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
So 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 always important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. 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 products to support our projects. Normalizing exposure, standing beside us and stating “these communities are worthwhile of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can prospective partners do business with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly searching for partners to invest, offer financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are also always prepared to host individuals if they wish to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host people once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that historically have not had access. We are likewise going to be broadening our board. Due to the fact that I think that has real worth, Im constantly challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been fantastic just to meet the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with totally various point of views. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the very 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.
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it. Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are also constantly ready to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that traditionally have not had access.
Show us a current success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be developing a $30 million, totally budget friendly and totally sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 property systems, a coffeehouse, an organization 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 always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it. To me, thats pretty satisfying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is necessary is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. Were intending to cut energy costs for households in half. Thats a huge deal, you understand. That quantity of cash impacts the spending plan of everyday families
What challenges 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 believe the lesson is that union structure is essential.
Inform us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, main consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all households, everybody ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of 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 installment includes market leaders and topics related to accelerating a fair and simply shift to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are flourishing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his competence and track record of developing constant returns with a personal passion for assisting transform 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 clean economy.
READ 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 2 critical moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas bill, and she was just making ten dollars an hour, so we could not pay for the gas bill. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat turned off. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and carry it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick with you. I do not care what happens 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 country, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a good thing
The second turning point was probably 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was investing in a host of things around the globe. Individuals were can be found in to request for an investment around renewable resource, and I presented a question to them: “What you are making with these solar firms is spectacular, and the expense of solar is coming down, however how does that assistance daily people?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying a disproportionate amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare inquire about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households frequently reside in multi-family buildings, and it is hard to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to get in touch with specific households and the cost of getting those people informed and then registering for renewable resource is not a beneficial company model.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the housing development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the market forever. So I quit my job. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up. Everything is I do is targeted to households in those situations and focused on enhancing their quality of life