In a round led by Japenese Fortune Global 500 company Marubeni Corporation, pay-as-you-go solar home solution provider, Azuri Technologies, has raised an equity investment of USD 26 Mn to help the green energy pioneer expand in Africa.
The round for the Milton-based off-grid home solutions company also saw the participation of existing shareholders, including FTSE 250 company IP Group Plc. With the funding, the company plans to expand its offering to East and West Africa, serving more homes that lack reliable power.
Since 2012, Azuri has been providing solar home systems to off-grid users in sub-Saharan Africa and has sold more than 150,.000 units to people who have low or no access to electricity in the region.
The Cambridge firm already has made significant offers of mobile technology to pay-as-you-go-energy products in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia.
Jamie Vollbracht, partner at IP Group, added: “As an early investor in Azuri, we are pleased with its growth to date, with over 150,000 systems sold, positively impacting off-grid households in Africa. Today we are delighted to welcome Marubeni to the business to help power the next exciting phase of growth for Azuri.”
Chief investor Marubeni – who is now Azuri’s largest shareholder – has global interests in energy and considerable experience in the continent.
With the help of the Japenese firm’s capital infusion, Azuri will be able to accelerate expansion in existing sub-Saharan African markets and roll-out its solar lighting, TV and additional services into new markets, opportunities expected to be opened up the monetary development.
Earlier this year, Marubeni acquired a minority stake in American AI-powered clean energy project GridMarket in a deal whose financial details are being withheld.
Last year, the company bought a 21pc Tanzanian power business WASSHA. As evident in the lead investment with Azuri, the company is ramping up its financial engagements in Africa.
The deal also marks a trend for high energy companies who have their eyes set on the off-grid sector of Africa. Driven by technology, solar power is arguably in high demand in Africa, and that among many other factors has pressured investors to divest from the fossil fuel industry.
Yoshiaki Yokota, Marubeni’s chief operating officer for the power business division, said: “We believe that Azuri’s unique business model will have a profound impact on the growing off-grid energy market in Africa.
“The global energy market is evolving rapidly, with the introduction of new renewable technologies and energy-efficient devices. We are delighted to be a strategic partner of Azuri as a market leader and see their solar home solutions and services as catalysts for change in the Africa energy sector and beyond.”
CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth said: “We are delighted today to announce the equity investment by Marubeni Corporation and existing shareholders
“The entry of a leading player in the international energy market into this sector demonstrates the increasing maturity of off-grid power and its role in serving the 600 million people in Africa that still lack access to electricity.”