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

Share with us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, totally sustainable and entirely cost effective advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential systems, a cafe, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
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What effect are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have a financial impact that resonates with individuals, and its a quite effective message. That amount of cash effects the budget of everyday households
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What difficulties do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were building 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 structure is important.

Inform us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you run in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all communities, all households, everybody should have access. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone.

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 important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a big 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 deserve investment”– you cant put a value on that
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How can prospective partners work with you?
We are also always prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host people as soon as a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically havent had gain access to. Im constantly difficult leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has real value
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How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been fantastic simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member business. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with absolutely various point of views. I like the networking.
I believe we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Just knowing that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big difference.
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By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo 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 includes industry leaders and subjects associated with accelerating an equitable and just transition to a renewable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business 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 investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his competence and track record of producing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping transform neighborhoods and their impact on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a tidy 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 two turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas costs. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut down. For around 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 uniquely bumpy rides, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I dont care what happens the rest of your career or what your quality of life is progressing; those moments are with you permanently. As I discuss that with various groups around the country, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A great deal of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not an advantage
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They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the daily people. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my business. I called it 548 Capital because that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up.

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

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