Senior Thulith Edirisinghe went into Kenya wanting to make an impact with renewable energy. He came out of it with a newfound fascination for the solar industry and also Kenya.
“As an Engineer, I have a social responsibility to give back to my community and beyond. I believe that the best way for me to give back is to share my knowledge and experience where it's needed the most and where it matters the most, MISTI Africa allowed me to do exactly that.”

As a mechanical engineer with a passion for the energy industry, Thulith has a vision of bringing renewable energy technologies to the developing market, especially his home country, Sri Lanka. He went into Kenya wanting to work with Pulkit Shamsherry, a MIT graduate working to impact the solar industry. He came out of it with a newfound fascination with the solar industry and also Kenya.

Thulith worked for Illumina as a systems engineer, automating their solar system design process. Illumina uses customer data to better design solar and battery storage systems that increase reliability and reduce costs for residential, commercial and industrial clients across Kenya. With nearly one megawatt worth of projects in the pipeline, the company hired Thulith to automate their system design process to allow for better accuracy and turnaround time for clients. The company's CEO, Rushab Haria, was impressed by Thulith’s progress and says he added a lot of value to the company by engaging in multiple projects at the same time.

Coming out of his internship, Thulith says he would love to go back and work for Illumina because of the challenging nature of his role and also the satisfaction he received from his work. “What I love about my internship was that I had to build something from the ground up and I learned a lot about the industry from that process.” Thulith continues to work with Illumina to exchange resources, knowledge, and expertise between Kenya and MIT. He says that it enriches his MIT experience and says it’s a two-way exchange of value.

This was the first time Thulith visited the African continent and he says the experience opened his eyes to the world. He quickly immersed himself in the culture and explored many parts of the country. He says Kenya has some of the best food the world has to offer and the people are some of the kindest, sincere, and welcoming he has met. From feeding giraffe to watching lions hunt to attending a Sikh festival in the famous Makindu temple, Thulith made the most out of Kenya. Thulith also became very close to his hosts, Pulkits’s family, and says they are more like family to him than friends.

  • Africa
  • Internship
  • MechE