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

I believe there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are also always ready 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 technology that were applying in communities that historically havent had access.

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 always important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a chance to speak straight with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. Then, if there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge deal. Were presently working on a partnership with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of products to support our tasks. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are deserving of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners work with you?
Today, we are Chicago-focused. We are always looking for partners to invest, provide financial obligation or buy some tax credits, thats the very first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods, we are also constantly prepared to host individuals. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host people when a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in communities that traditionally havent had gain access to. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Im constantly difficult top executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I think that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific just to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about people with completely various perspectives. 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, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge difference.

Inform us about your business? (mission, partners, areas you run in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everyone should have gain access to. Someone, some entity, needs to work as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone. Thats what my objective is, and thankfully we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, however we will be revealing some new areas this fall

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of 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 includes industry leaders and topics connected to accelerating a fair and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering 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 investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his proficiency and track record of creating consistent returns with an individual passion for helping change neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his impact 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 essential minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas costs, and she was only making ten dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas bill. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
The 2nd turning point was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a firm that was buying a host of things around the world. Individuals were coming in to request an investment around sustainable energy, and I postured a concern to them: “What you are making with these solar firms is amazing, and the expense of solar is coming down, however how does that aid daily people?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their gain access to? They are paying a disproportionate amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare ask about the everyday people. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income families typically reside in multi-family structures, and it is hard to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you need to call private households and the cost of getting those individuals educated and then signing up for sustainable energy is not a favorable company model.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace permanently. I quit my job. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my company. Since 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 families in those situations and focused on improving their lifestyle

Share with us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, entirely sustainable and completely cost effective advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 residential systems, a cafe, a company 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 people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. That quantity of money impacts the spending plan of everyday families
What challenges do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a service, any organization, was going to be tough. With that said, access to capital is ungodly challenging. When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not desire to invest; they do not want to partner; they dont wish to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made extremely little, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that union structure is important. My voice just indicates a lot, but the more I can bring pals to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need