June Lukuyu

PhD Student, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Systems Towards Infrastructure Monitoring and Analysis (STIMA) Lab

University of Massachusetts, Amherst



I am a second year PhD student in the STIMA Lab, advised by Professor Jay Taneja. I have a Masters degree in Renewable Energy Systems Technology from Loughborough University and a Bachelors degree in Engineering Science from Smith College. My research focuses on the assessment and management of long-term sustainable energy demand in both off-grid and on-grid energy systems in the developing world, as well as exploring opportunities for increasing sustainable energy use that promotes socio-economic development. My work employs a wide range of data analytics and computing tools.


Demand stimulation for long-term sustainability of minigrids:

(STIMA LAB - 2019)

In sub-Saharan Africa, minigrids fill a critical gap, providing cost-effective, reliable, clean electricity to power households and businesses isolated from the main grid. However, these minigrids face the challenge of poor capacity utilization for reasons such as high electricity tariffs, which are a result of the high cost of providing power, lack the capital to purchase appliances or consumers overestimating their electricity spend. This project addresses this challenge by evaluating the effects of two demand stimulation programs i.e. appliance financing and tariff reduction schemes on the level and timing of electricity demand, as well as system revenues of minigrids across Kenya and Tanzania. This project is in collaboration with researchers from Duke University and Carnegie Mellon University, and Study Partners: CrossBoundary and Energy 4 Impact.

Comparison of electricity consumption patterns between solar home system and minigrid customers:

(STIMA LAB - 2019)

Solar home systems and minigrids are the two main ways of providing electricity access to areas where grid extension is not possible or economically viable. How do these two groups of customers compare in terms of how they spend money on electricity purchases? How about the frequency of top-ups during the month? How do daily consumption patterns compare across spending groups within one customer base, as well as between customers of similar spend groups? This project seeks to shed light on how electricity consumption behavior and patterns compare across and between solar home system and minigrid customers. This project is in collaboration with researchers from Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP).


Community-based hybrid renewable powered milk cooling systems for smallholder dairy farmers in rural Tanzania:

(Loughborough University, Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology - 2016)

Due to lack of milk cooling facilities, smallholder dairy farmers in areas without access to reliable grid electricity face problems of high milk spoilage and limited access to formal markets, which limits their income and standard of living. Majority of these smallholder dairy farmers lack the capital to invest in individual on-farm solar or biogas milk cooling systems already commercially available. This project therefore examined the economic viability of integrating a renewable based milk-cooling system in a dairy market hub system, which is a is a collective arrangement that aims to stimulate grouping of dairy farmers to produce and sell milk in bulk, as well as have group access to inputs and services. Key risk factors having the greatest impact on system viability were identified and a stochastic approach, by means of a Monte Carlo simulation was employed to determine the risk-adjusted economic performance of the project. Advisor: Dr. Richard Blanchard

Techno-economic feasibility of renewable-based microgrid systems in Northern Kenya:

(Smith College, Picker Engineering Program - 2012)

By 2012, six diesel power stations were the only source of electricity for remote villages in Northern Kenya. The government proposed the installation of 3 MW of wind and solar energy systems in facilities with existing diesel generators. This project was a contribution to this effort by designing and evaluating techno-economically feasible configurations of hybrid minigrid systems, incorporating solar and wind energy, as well as energy storage in HOMER to replace these stand-alone diesel power systems. A Multi-Attribute Tradeoff Analysis was employed to determine am optimal hybrid system configuration that would minimize CO2 emissions at a minimal net present cost. Advisor: Professor Judith Cardell


Spaulding Smith Fellowship, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2018

Dean’s Fellow Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2018


Lukuyu, J., Blanchard, R. and Rowley, P.N. (2019). A risk-adjusted techno-economic analysis for renewable-based milk cooling in remote dairy farming communities in East Africa. Renewable Energy, 130, pp. 700-713, 2019.

“Off-grid solar milk cooling systems offer technical and market opportunities for remote dairy producers.” Lukuyu, J. Maziwa Zaidi (More Milk) in Tanzania Policy Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. May 2017.

Lukuyu, J. and Cardell, J.B. (2014). Hybrid Power System Options for Off-Grid Rural Electrification in Northern Kenya. Smart Grid and Renewable Energy, 5, pp. 89-106.

Murage, M. W., Cardell, J. B., Lukuyu, J., & Anderson, C. L. (2014). The Impact of Variable Market Price on Optimal Control of Wind-Hydro Storage System in Kenya. Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS ‘14), pp. 2417-2425.

“Wind-Diesel Microgrid System for Remote Villages in Kenya,” Lukuyu, J. 44th North American Power Symposium in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. September 2012.

Lukuyu, J. (2012). Wind-diesel microgrid system for remote villages in Kenya. Proceedings of the North American Power Symposium (NAPS), 2012, pp. 1-6.