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

I believe there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. 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 likewise always prepared to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people when a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that historically havent had gain access to.

Show us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, entirely sustainable and completely inexpensive advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 domestic units, a coffeehouse, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
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What effect are you making?
When people discover who is behind our business, I think there is constantly a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant think it. To me, thats pretty gratifying. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. Were aiming to cut energy expenditures for families in half. Thats a huge deal, you know. That amount of cash impacts the budget of daily families
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What obstacles do you deal with? Why?
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 neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that union structure is important.

What can companies 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 valuable. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthwhile of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
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How can prospective partners do organization with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, provide financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are also always going to host people if they wish to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. 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 using in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had gain access to. We are also going to be expanding our board. Due to the fact that I believe that has genuine value, Im constantly challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts
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How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been great just to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering people with absolutely various perspectives. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge difference.
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By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment includes market leaders and subjects related to accelerating an equitable and just shift to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are thriving in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his expertise and track record of creating constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping transform communities and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas transition 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 start your company?
I had 2 critical moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas costs, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas costs. Therefore, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut down. For approximately a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and bring it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively difficult times, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I do not care what happens the rest of your career or what your quality of life is moving on; those minutes are with you forever. As I talk about that with various groups around the country, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, whichs not an advantage
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The second essential minute was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a firm that was purchasing a host of things worldwide. People were being available in to ask for an investment around eco-friendly energy, and I postured a concern to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is incredible, and the expense of solar is boiling down, but how does that aid everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their income on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families often live in multi-family structures, and it is hard to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you need to contact private families and the expense of getting those individuals educated and then signing up for renewable resource is not a favorable organization design.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the market permanently. So I stopped my job. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I started my business. I named it 548 Capital because that is the unit number in the general public housing where I matured. So whatever is I do is targeted to households in those circumstances and concentrated on improving their lifestyle
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Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you operate in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all households, everyone needs to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, needs to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and thankfully we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, however we will be announcing some new areas this fall
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