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

What can organizations 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 valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak straight with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is incredible. Then, if there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can also be a huge offer. Were currently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of products to support our projects. Stabilizing exposure, standing beside us and saying “these neighborhoods are worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners work with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly trying to find partners to invest, provide debt or buy some tax credits, thats the very first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities, we are likewise always prepared to host individuals. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically 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 real value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about people with totally various viewpoints. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big difference.

Tell us about your company? (objective, partners, areas you operate in, primary customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everyone needs to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to work as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone. Thats what my mission is, and fortunately we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some new places this fall

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image 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 series.
Each installment includes market leaders and topics connected to accelerating an equitable and just shift to a renewable resource 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 financial investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his proficiency and performance history of producing consistent returns with a personal passion for helping change neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his impact on Americas shift to a clean economy.
CHECKED 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 moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas bill, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we couldnt afford the gas costs. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
The second turning point was most likely 15 years earlier, as I was working for a firm that was investing in a host of things around the world. Individuals were being available in to request for an investment around renewable energy, and I postured a concern to them: “What you are finishing with these solar firms is spectacular, and the cost of solar is boiling down, however how does that aid daily people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their access? They are paying a disproportionate amount of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare inquire about the everyday people. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households often reside in multi-family buildings, and it is difficult to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you need to call individual households and the expense of getting those people informed and then registering for renewable resource is not a favorable organization design.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing development and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace forever. I quit my job. I think I kipped down my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I started my business. I named it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I matured. Whatever is I do is targeted to households in those situations and focused on enhancing their quality of life

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

Show us a current success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be building a $30 million, completely sustainable and completely economical development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 property units, a coffeehouse, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant think it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have an economic effect that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty effective message. That amount of money effects the spending plan of daily families
What difficulties 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 wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that coalition building is important.