Kevin Simon
Kevin Simon PhD Student, MIT and Co-Founder, Khethworks
Olin College of Engineering, 2012, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

Kevin has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Olin College, and a MS in Engineering Systems from MIT. Currently, he is a Mechanical Engineering PhD student at MIT and a co-founder of Khethworks - an impact-oriented, for-profit startup that is creating affordable solar irrigation solutions for marginal-holding farmers in East India. Previously, he has worked on robotic sailboats, microscope accessories, intestine-like natural gas tanks, and actuators for concentrated solar power. Outside of work, Kevin likes to run, bike, and cook.

“The GCSP flavor of my Olin experience helped set me on the path towards making solar energy more affordable. This was very clear to me in the spring of 2015, when I was boarding a plane to India to take a new solar irrigation pump to Jharkhand, a rural state in East India. Even though I had been working on optimization and pump design for the previous 2 years, I was working to make solar energy more affordable by creating systems that enabled farmers to affordably use solar power to irrigate year-round.

Unlike my work at Sunfolding, after Olin and before MIT which was focused on making cheaper solar trackers, my work was at MIT has been about creating a system of creating value out of solar power. Solar power is only affordable if it is properly financed, managed, and producing value to the key stakeholders: the goal of my work at the Tata Center for Technology and Design at MIT. This was also the exact sort of work that I had come to write about in my GCSP reflections at Olin. Producing technologies that made economic sense for off-grid communities in India fit the Olin GCSP model shockingly well. The work was right at the intersection between making solar more affordable, service learning, interdisciplinary work, an entrepreneurial mindset, and service learning.”