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

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

Inform us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you run in, main consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all communities, all families, everyone should have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to function as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and luckily we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some new places this fall

Show us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, completely sustainable and entirely budget friendly advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential systems, a coffee store, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
When people learn who is behind our business, I think there is constantly a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it. To me, thats pretty fulfilling. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is crucial is we have an economic effect that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. That amount of money impacts the spending plan of everyday families
What difficulties do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that coalition structure is crucial.

So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners work with you?
We are also constantly ready to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people as soon as a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in communities that traditionally havent had access. Im constantly difficult leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has real value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been fantastic just to meet the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning about individuals with completely different point of views. I enjoy the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge difference.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation includes market leaders and topics related to speeding up an equitable and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are growing in the sustainable energy 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 genuine estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and performance history of developing consistent returns with a personal passion for assisting change communities 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 clean economy.
READ 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 critical minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas costs, and she was just making ten dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas bill. A lot of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
They looked puzzled that I would even dare ask about the everyday individuals. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my business. I named it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up.