Most of the population of Uruguay is concentrated in the cities. In areas of the sparsely populated countryside, many rural schools do not have electrical energy because of their remote location and lack of economic sources.
Engineering students from student branches of Universidad de la República (state university), Universidad ORT (prívate university) and Universidad Católica del Uruguay (prívate university) will participate in a contest to design and build a prototype power grid that can provide electrical energy to a rural elementary school. The prototype will then be replicated by local small enterprises and built to provide electrical power for up to 200 rural schools that are not presently connected to the power grid.
A committee that includes IEEE volunteers, non-profit organization LATU (Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay), Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, National Administration of Small Businesses, National Administration of Elementary Schools and the National Administration of Energy will assess submissions. A winning prototype will be selected and rewarded $3,000 prize money.
The chosen prototype will be built at LATU facilities for testing and approved by a committee of IEEE and LATU volunteers. Once approved, the tested product will be transported and installed at the school site, The Instituto Superior Arias Balparda, a technology and trades secondary public school. Once installed, functional tests will be performed and secondary students will give feedback. After a period of two months, the product will be assessed and given a detailed technical documentation.
After the EPICS in IEEE project has been completed, a bid will be generated to call interested small enterprises that can provide a standard package to a number of schools, based on the results of the prototype and determined by the National Administration of Elementary Schools.