In the present work we calculate energy levels, transition probabilities, and electron-ion collisional excitation rates for the 3s23p2, 3s3p3, and 3s23p3d configurations of the silicon-like ion Ca VII. The total number of intermediate coupling levels considered is 27. Collision strengths are calculated at seven incident electron energies: 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, and 60 ryd, using the distorted-wave approximation and a five-configuration model. Excitation rate coefficients are calculated by assuming a Maxwellian distribution of velocities and are used to calculate level populations and line emissivities under the assumption of statistical equilibrium. Line intensity ratios are calculated and compared with observed values measured from SERTS and SOHO CDS spectra. The diagnostic potential of Ca VII is demonstrated, with particular emphasis on the possibility of measuring the Ne/Ca relative abundance through simultaneous observations of Ca VII and Ne VI lines. Ca VII proves to be an excellent tool for the study of the first ionization potential effect in the solar transition region.