Simon Bransfield-Garth is the CEO and founder of Azuri Technologies. Before Azuri, Simon worked at a variety of solar cell companies, most recently as Chief executive at Cellcrypt and Eight19 Ltd. Simon holds a PhD in Engineering in Electronic Engineering from the University of Cambridge.
What is the problem?
While you are switching on the light in your room and turning on your computer to read this, only about half of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to electricity. For many an inside fireplace is the alternative they have to living in the dark once the sun goes down. This does not only have implications for school children who do not get enough time in the evening to do their homework, but also owners of small shops that need to close when it gets dark.
What is the Solution?
Azuri Technologies wants to change the lives of people across Sub-Saharan Africa by providing them with affordable and clean energy. Azuri provides full kits for people to get access to electricity and meet their basic electricity needs. The kit includes solar panels, lights, a radio, phone charging cables, a television, and a satellite connection. So far, they have sold over 150,000 sets, impacting over 750,000 people and are poised to continue expanding.
Users of the kit buy a weekly scratch card that they buy at local supermarkets or small shops. The price of the scratch card is designed to be slightly below that of the most commonly used power alternativekerosene. Each card contains a code that can activate the kit for another week by sending a text from a mobile phone. After 18 months, the kit is paid back in full and becomes free for the family to use forever.