A renewable energy business which allows users in sub-Saharan Africa to pay for solar power using their mobile phone has secured a £4m funding boost.

Azuri, based in Cambridge, will deploy PayGo solar home systems in sub-Saharan Africa, where 600 million people live without access to a reliable power grid.

The finance facility with Standard Chartered Bank is thought to be the first of its type for the growing off-grid solar market.

It will allow for a stock of manufactured products to be built before being transferred to Azuri's distribution partners.

The technology allows users to pay for solar power on a pay-as-you-go basis.

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Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive of Azuri, said: “As the PayGo industry matures, access to innovative debt finance mechanisms becomes an increasingly important part of being able to deliver continued market growth.

"We are delighted to have partnered with Standard Chartered Bank to deliver this innovative facility."

Sean Hanafin,head of corporate coverage, UK & European sectors at Standard Chartered, added: "Azuri are pioneering affordable energy which is having an ongoing impact not only on the environment but on the lives of those that need it most.

“Sustainability is a key driving force for us as a business and we aim to continue to support similar initiatives in the future.

"This facility is aligned with our 'Banking the Ecosystem' strategy, deploying innovative solutions to finance clients' ecosystems of international suppliers, distributors and customers, driving global trade and commerce."

Since 2011, Azuri has sold some 90,000 solar home systems, reaching approximately half a million people.