CECA U of T Students win 2017 ELECTRI International Student Passport Competition

Monday, July 17, 2017

The CECA U of T Student Chapter is at it again!


They were chosen, along with Penn State University, as finalists in the 2017 ELECTRI International Student Passport Competition. The finalists were invited to attend the ELECTRI Council Meeting, held July 13-14 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston, to conduct a 15 minute presentation supporting the projects identified below. Ernesto Diaz Lozano Patino presented CECA U of T and Professor Brenda McCabe was there for guidance…THEY WON!!!!!!!!


More details below.


Two outstanding Student Passport Initiatives were reviewed by the ELECTRI Council at its July 13-14 2017 meeting. The Foundation increased its support for this program by awarding $20,000 towards the first place project and $10,000 for the second place initiative. ELECTRI’s Program Review Committee invited two schools to join the Council to present their proposals.


The University of Toronto Student Chapter (CECA) will concentrate on Toltenco. Mexico. Located along the southern rim of Mexico City, Toltenco faces crippling infrastructure challenges. It lacks reliable electricity and safe housing. Known for informal settlements where inhabitants live in extreme poverty without access to basic city services, Toltenco has about 800 residents, with an average household income of $135 per month, huddled in houses built with cardboard and garbage. A major issue in this community is violence. Residents of Toltenco have identified public lighting as the most effective way to improve security and trust. However, the community does not have access to formal electrical service nor the means to pay the usage fees demanded by the local electric utility. 

The student team from the University of Toronto Chapter has designed an efficient way to address Toltenco’s safety problem using an off-grid array of LED street lights with integrated solar panels and batteries. This proposal to ELECTRI International was developed in partnership with TECHO Mexico City, the local chapter of an international organization that started in Chile. TECHO’s mission is to work with informal settlers to end poverty through community work that involves inhabitants and volunteers. Street lighting is an important step in the overall goal of developing Toltenco into a sustainable, safe community. 


The Pennsylvania State University NECA Student Chapter recognizes the major trend towards implementing renewable energy systems in developing communities around the world. As prices of energy sources continue to increase, there is a push for more sustainable, reliable, and cost effective solutions, particularly for island communities that often rely on importing fuel sources to meet energy demands. In an effort to accelerate the transition to more sustainable energy systems, the Penn State Student Chapter has designed a solar panel array that will power a water pump in the community of West End, on the island of Roatán, Honduras.”

When implemented, this design will provide the energy necessary to power the water pump that serves a number of families in the community. The existing water pump currently relies on an expensive and unreliable grid connection. The power plant feeding the grid runs on imported diesel fuel, which comes at a high cost and is an unsustainable energy source. With this project, students will continue the University’s existing relationship with members of Roatán’s communities and the team’s local electrical contracting mentor, Vegas Electric. Building on its past projects, Penn State plans to broaden its focus by involving the island utility, Roatán Electric Co (RECO) which has already launched efforts to eliminate the use of diesel fuel generation, and also initiated construction of a 10 MW wind farm. Penn State’s proposed PV array will provide power to the water pump so it can better supply the necessary amount of water to families living in the community, thereby reducing West End residents’ electricity bills.