This group of undergraduate civil engineers at the University of Toronto are going where no students have gone before; at least not in Canada. Only one year ago, the first student chapter of the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association was founded at the university, and this chapter was the first international chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association of the USA. Since their inception, the U of T student chapter has made significant progress in advancing the electrical contracting industry amongst its students. In 2015, the chapter competed in the Electri International Green Energy Challenge, where they designed a solar PV microgrid system and back-up power plan for Good Shepherd Ministries, a homeless shelter in downtown Toronto. They placed 4th overall at the annual NECA Convention in San Francisco, CA in October.
For 2016, the chapter has even bigger and better plans. In addition to spearheading the creation of more student chapters across Canadian universities, the chapter is participating in both the 2016 Green Energy Challenge and 2016 Electri International Student Passport Initiative. The 2016 Green Energy Challenge entails the design of a solar PV array with an accompanying educational component for grade 7-12 students at University of Toronto Schools, a local high school.
The Student Passport Initiative is the chapter’s most exciting project for the year. The initiative is open to all student chapters, and it allows chapters to submit designs and develop a plan for installing or adding to electrical service available to an underdeveloped community somewhere around the world. This year the chapter is joining Penn State University on a trip to Honduras in March 2016 to help build a solar powered water pumping station with the help of local contractors. As part of the outreach effort for this endeavour, the chapter raised $6,000 to help fund travel and construction expenses. The chapter would like to thank Alltrade Industrial, Fitzpatrick Electric, and Fusion Energy for their generous contribution.