Azuri to use Sh400m debt to connect 150,000 Kenyan homes to pay-go solar

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General Manager East Africa Snehar Shah, says the firm is ready to expand its reach with a Sh2 billion commercial debt financing it received early this year.

Of the Sh2 billion, about Sh400 million will be deployed in Kenya.

“The PayGo sector is growing rapidly and its continued expansion requires access to substantial levels of capital. The debt financing will go a long way in increasing the reach, a significant number of people are yet be connected to the national grid,” he noted.

The firm has so far connected about 150,000 homes with PayGo solar systems in the last five years which also includes a solar-powered 24-inch satellite-TV.

The Sh2 billion debt financing was sort through crowdsourcing, as well as through the acquisition of a Sh1 billion European Commission fund.

Headquartered in Cambridge, United Kingdom, with staff based in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Nigeria – Azuri is leveraging solar and mobile technology to allow users in 12 different countries access renewable, distributed power on a pay-as-you-go basis.

According to Renewables 2018 Global Status Report, sales of off-grid solar systems in Kenya, the largest market in Sub-Saharan Africa, decreased 25% in 2017 – compared to 2016.

This followed years of growth from 2009-2016, which saw about nine million households access off-grid electricity connections.

In contrast, the devices market in the Democratic Republic of Congo tripled, whereas in Uganda, it increased by about 21% between 2016 and 2017.

The trend in Kenya mirrored the uptake of the devices in other key markets, including Ethiopia and East Asia.

Globally, in 2017, an estimated 25.8 million off-grid solar systems were sold, a 14% decrease from sales reported in 2016.

The report further notes that off-grid solar-based systems have increased access to electricity in most rural areas in East Africa – with 51 % (9 million households) of the off-grid population in Kenya, served by distributed renewables for energy access systems – which are mostly solar based.

The mini-grid solar based installation targeting off-grid communities, according to the report, got increased attention from investors and governments.

-Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & Capital Business News (Kenya).