Janta EnergyThe Hunt Institute Social Enterprise Program is proud to introduce our first student social entrepreneur, Mohammed Njie. Mohammed is a rising senior at Southern Methodist University studying Electrical Engineering in Lyle School of Engineering. He was born and raised in The Gambia, a country in Western Africa. In the Gambia, 52% of people do not have access to electricity, and the remaining 48% have unreliable access. Mohammed attended high school at one of the few schools with electricity. Seeing students at other institutions that did not have access to electricity, motivated him to help close this gap.

Mohammed Nije Trip

A villager in Tintinto Village teaches Mohammed about life without reliable clean energy

Mohammed founded Janta Energy, a social enterprise, with the goal of bringing clean, reliable energy to The Gambia. His vision is to see all of Africa have access to reliable affordable clean energy in his lifetime. With support from the Hunt Institute, SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning, the Grand Challenge Scholars program, and the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, Mohammed initiated a pilot project on his last trip to The Gambia during the winter break in 2019. The project installed solar panels on a school rooftop in a rural area in The Gambia to test capacity and determine elements needed to enhance students’ academic experience.

Items Installed for the pilot project;

  • Five 330 Watt 24 volt solar panels.
  • Two 250 amp, 12-volt solar batteries.
  • A 50 amp solar charge controller.

After several months of usage, the report from the school administrators revealed that having access to electricity created many opportunities for this school and its students.

A library at a school in Tintinto village that now has electricity thanks to Janta Energy.

A library in the school in Tintinto Village now has electricity

According to their report, the school is currently only utilizing 30% of the installed capacity. With this excess capacity, they are in the process of introducing fans throughout the school. The estimated usage is expected to rise to approximately 70% capacity. The school plans to utilize the last 30% to install computers for student use, which will greatly enhance the possibilities for exploration and learning. Once the pilot project is completed, Janta Energy plans to use this concept to build a microgrid, with the school at the center, to help power the entire village. Looking ahead to the future, Janta Energy seeks to replicate the model used in Tintinto Village across other rural villages, eventually spanning the rest of the country.

Stay tuned for more updates from Mohammed, and his Janta Energy continues working to provide The Gambia with access to sustainable electricity. To learn more about the Hunt Institute’s Social Enterprise Program, visit smu.edu/socialenterprise. Check the Hunt Institute Digest next week to meet another amazing social entrepreneur.

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