Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a chance to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is amazing. If there are national corporations that can support our work that can also be a huge offer. Were presently dealing with a partnership with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our projects. Normalizing exposure, standing beside us and stating “these neighborhoods are deserving of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can possible partners work with you?
We are also always willing to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology 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 communities that traditionally havent had access. Im always difficult top executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has real value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been terrific simply to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning about individuals with totally various perspectives. I like the networking.
I think 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 distinction.
Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you run in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody ought to have access. Somebody, some entity, has to act as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and luckily we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some new areas this fall
Share with us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be developing a $30 million, totally sustainable and entirely inexpensive advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential systems, a coffee bar, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
I believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it.
The other thing that I think is crucial is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. That quantity of money effects the budget of everyday families
What obstacles do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a business, any business, was going to be challenging. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks do not wish to invest; they dont wish to partner; they dont wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to combat here, and weve made really little, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that coalition building is essential. My voice only suggests so much, but the more I can bring good friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes industry leaders and subjects connected to accelerating an equitable and just transition to a renewable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering in the renewable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his know-how and performance history of producing consistent returns with an individual passion for helping transform 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 transition to a tidy economy.
CHECKED OUT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to start your company?
I had two turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas expense, and she was only making ten bucks an hour, so we could not manage the gas costs. Therefore, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut off. For approximately a year in my teens, we had to boil water and bring it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick to you. I do not care what occurs the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is moving on; those minutes are with you forever. As I discuss that with various groups around the nation, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A great deal of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good idea
The 2nd essential minute was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things worldwide. People were can be found in to request an investment around renewable resource, and I presented a question to them: “What you are finishing with these solar firms is incredible, and the cost of solar is coming down, however how does that assistance everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt inquire about the everyday people. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households often 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 have to contact individual households and the cost of getting those individuals educated and then registering for renewable resource is not a favorable business model.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to alter the market forever. I stopped my task. I believe I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my business. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up. So whatever is I do is targeted to families in those situations and concentrated on enhancing their lifestyle
I believe there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant think it. Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise constantly prepared to host individuals if they desire 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 technology that were using in communities that traditionally have not had gain access to.