Azuri Technologies has raised $26 million led by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation with additional participation from existing shareholders, including IP Group plc. The pay-as-you-go solar solutions firm says it will use the funds to accelerate its growth plans in both East and West Africa and open up new opportunities for the business.

Azuri will also use the funds to roll-out its solar lighting, TV and additional services into the new markets. The focus it says will be on enhancing the lives of millions living without access to the grid.

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,” said Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Azuri Technologies.

Marubeni Corporation was founded more than 150 years ago and is now one of Japan’s largest trading firms with global interests across energy, manufacturing, trading and investment.

The company has been investing in solar energy businesses for over 20 years. Since 2012, Azuri has been providing affordable pay-as-you-go solar home solutions to off-grid households across sub-Saharan Africa, with offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.