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

What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is amazing. Then, if there are national corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a big offer. Were currently working on a partnership with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our jobs. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities deserve financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners work with you?
We are likewise constantly ready to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that historically havent had access. Im always tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I think that has real value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great just to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering individuals with completely 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, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big distinction.

Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, regions you operate in, primary clients, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all communities, all households, everyone needs to have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.

I believe there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. We are also always ready to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had gain access to.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image 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 series.
Each installment features industry leaders and subjects associated with speeding up an equitable and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are growing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his proficiency and performance history of creating consistent returns with a personal passion for helping transform communities 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 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 two turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas costs, and she was just making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas expense. Therefore, sadly, we had our gas and heat turned off. For around a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and carry it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively difficult times, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I dont care what occurs the rest of your career or what your lifestyle is moving forward; those minutes are with you forever. As I discuss that with various groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a great thing
The 2nd turning point was probably 15 years earlier, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things worldwide. People were can be found in to request for an investment around renewable energy, and I presented a question to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is incredible, and the cost of solar is boiling down, but 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 income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare ask about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families typically live in multi-family buildings, and it is tough to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to contact individual households and the cost of getting those individuals informed and then registering for renewable resource is not a favorable business design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace permanently. I stopped my task. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I began 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 circumstances and focused on improving their lifestyle

Share with us a current success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be building a $30 million, completely sustainable and entirely budget friendly advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 domestic units, a coffeehouse, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it. To me, thats quite gratifying. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
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 quantity of money impacts the budget plan of everyday families
What obstacles 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 think the lesson is that union structure is essential.