UK: Pay-as-you-go PV secures finance

Barclays bank has provided a £1 million credit facility to Azuri, an off-grid solar provider and the developer of the Indigo pay-as-you-go solar system. Azuri is the commercial arm of the Eight19 startup, which now focuses purely on developing its printed plastic photovoltaic technology. The technology was developed in the adjacent Cambridge University.

Azuri announced the facility yesterday and said that its affordable photovoltaic systems can cut users’ kerosene and mobile phone charging costs by as much as 50%. Azuri utilizes the mobile telephone network for its billing system.

"Barclays vision will provide the working capital finance for Azuri to deliver an additional 30,000 solar home systems in Africa this year," said Simon Bransfield-Garth, Azuri’s CEO. "This landmark deal represents a major step towards opening up the commercial finance sector for distributed rural power."

Azuri claims that not only can its Indigo system save users on fuel costs, independent research has shown that Indigo users’ children spend approximately an additional two hours per night on school work.

The Indigo systems were first introduced into off grid communities in Kenya in September 2011 and have since expanded into Malawi, Zambia, South Sudan, Uganda and South Africa.

In a statement announcing the financing facility, Barclays’ Sean Duffy said that the Azuri system is leading the way into off grid photovoltaic markets. "We are fully committed to assisting the company’s growth and this campaign, which will deliver significant social and economic benefits in Africa."