Tech firm lights up 460,000 homes in remote areas


Azuri Technologies uses motorcycle agents to connect rural off-grid households. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Innovation firm, Azuri Technologies has connected 460,000 households in rural areas with solar-powered gadgets through its pay-as-you-go model.

Chief Executive Simon Bransfield-Garth said the uptake of the firm’s power products has been boosted by demand for clean energy in areas without electricity grid.

“In a sense consumers in rural Kenya are 25 years ahead of the renewable energy race. Years from now, the grid will still exist but essentially every household will have solar. I mean why wouldn’t anyone take up a deal that guarantees ‘free energy’?”

Kenya’s installed power capacity of 2,294 megawatts and solar power accounts for less than one percent of the country’s total power coverage, presenting a huge market for independent off-grid investors.

Mr Bransfield-Garth said Azuri is currently powering 10 million homes across the African continent.

“The whole point of our pay-as-you-go model is to enable our customers to eventually own the unit after they finish paying off their monthly installments. At present we have about 10 million people spread out across the continent in the countries we operate in who now own their units with about 460,000 households served in Kenya,” he said.

“So essentially these people have solar home systems and free energy rolled out to them faster that the main electricity grid that is hardly reaching people in rural parts of the African continent.”


Quickmart Supermarket branch on Waiyaki Way, Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

Azuri technology offers two solar-powered packages. The first dubbed quad package has four LED solar lights, a phone charging unit, a portable rechargeable radio, a 10wattz solar panel and a rechargeable torch. The unit costs Sh24,500 for the one-off buyer.

For a majority of Kenyans who opt to pay through installments, Azuri Technologies offers payment plans that are as low as Sh49 daily or Sh340 a week. The option to buy by installment offers customers a contract plan of up to 82 weeks. with all payments made through mobile money payment options such as M-Pesa. “Doing away from kerosene and other sources of unclean energy was great as a start, but more needs to be done in the sphere of clean energy away from fossil fuels,” Mr Bransfield-Garth said. “At present, Azuri has rural consumers enjoying the same experience as somebody in New York, Johannesburg. So we are offering rural off-grid consumers an opportunity to interact with the digital economy from the comfort of their homes much as everyone else in the world.”

The second product they offer is AzuriTV which comes in either a 24-inch or a 32-inch LED TV screen. Under this package a consumer gets a Zuku satellite service with over 60 channels, four LED solar lights, mobile phone charger, a rechargeable portable radio, 50W solar panel and a rechargeable torch. With AzuriTV an initial deposit of Sh4,999 for the 24-inch or Sh5,999 for the 32-inch is needed as a prerequisite after the customer pays weekly installments set at Sh693 and Sh903 respectively.

The home solar kits employ the use of artificial intelligence that monitors and adjusts general power consumption according to the levels of power stored ensuring homes are powered even during rainy seasons. In conclusion, to cater to the youthful demographic which only seems to be moved by trends, fads or what is hip and cool Azuri Technology’s adoption of clean energy is their contribution to a cleaner and safer environment fir for tomorrow’s generation to enjoy and live healthier lives.