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Bringing electricity home

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Jonnie Kipyator
(Photo credit: Ryan Cohen ‘19)

Jonnie Kipyator

BS ‘17, MS ‘18
Energy Resources Engineering

October 24, 2017

“My dream is to make mini grids and micro grids the next big thing. More and more people are needing electricity and I want to take that to the next level,” said Jonnie Kipyator, BS ’17, MS ’18.

A native Kenyan, Kipyator became interested in studying Energy Resources Engineering because he was “tired of power outages” in his hometown of Eldoret. As one step toward the ultimate goal of returning to Kenya and improving its power situation, Kipyator worked on designing a one-megawatt solar power plant. “Part of the reason I decided to stay was to get enough mentorship and guidance to actually be able to fully design the whole power plant. After that, I’m looking into integrating power systems.”

Unlike some other developing countries, Kenya is coal-free. But with increasing populations and more industries expanding to Nairobi because of its strategic geographic location, residents are being forced to experience more electricity outages. “They call it rationing, but it’s just shortage. There is a high increase in energy demand and modernization, but the power grid and the utilities power system are not catching up quite as fast.”