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UK-based pay on the go solar company, Azuri Technologies, is aiming to connect over 150,000 Kenyan households to off-grid energy over the next three years.

General manager Snehar Shah noted: “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.”

The Sh2 billion ($20 million) debt financing was through crowd-sourcing as well as Sh1 billion ($10 million) from the European Commission fund.

The 2018 Innovative Technology award winner from African Utility Week – 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.

Off-grid solar market

According to the ‘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.

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

In 2017, an estimated 25.8 million off-grid solar systems were sold worldwide, 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% of the off-grid population in Kenya is served by distributed renewables for energy access systems, which are mostly solar.