When you have been involved in this industry for five decades, it’s hard to look at where solar energy is today -- compared to where it was in the 1970s -- and not be thankful.
Stephen Chalmers, Solar Proponent, 1927-2012Written by Arizona Solar Center (AzSC)
Stephen M. Chalmers
January 27, 1927 - December 14, 2012
Steve Chalmers, a well known Arizona proponent for photovoltaic (solar electric) power, recently passed away.
Steve was the Project Manager for Salt River Project for their first grid connected installations in the 1980s, including the 192 KW SolarOne Homeowners Association PV system installed by John F. Long Homes and Arco Solar.
Steve brought a practical utility perspective to the early development of photovoltaic standards and related work.
After his retirement from Salt River Project, Steve became more active in U.S. and international standards, serving on IEEE committees (Vice Chair of Standards Coordinating Committee 21) and becoming the U.S. Technical Advisor to the International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 82 for PV standards. Steve worked long hours in simply coordinating the efforts of U.S. and international organizations in the development of photovoltaic standards.
In the late 1990s, when it became evident that the U.S. needed a PV testing and certification program meeting the requirements for international reciprocity, Steve was instrumental in setting up PowerMark Corporation (PMC). PMC was formed in 1996 to promote the manufacture of only the highest quality photovoltaic products through the development and administration of an internationally-accepted product certification process. (see www.powermark.org for more information)
A full obituary is available on-line here.
A service to celebrate Steve's life was held at the Project Employees Recreational Association (PERA) Club on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 11 a.m. Many of Steve's friends in the solar community attended or shared some of their remembrances:
From Bob D'Aiello (past USTAG for TC82 IEC, IEEE, Solarex)
I attended the wonderful memorial for Steve at SRP on January 2. While there, sitting next to Bill Kaszeta I had some nice memories of Steve dating back to the mid 90's when he worked with us. One that stands out relates to the great advice he could give because of Steve's many years of practical experience in engineering, and in life in general. Although Bill and I had 5 college degrees between us, neither of us had a PE license, Steve had a PE and helped us on several projects. The one in mind was a high voltage solar PV array we were installing on a rooftop in Mesa, Arizona in July for a joint SRP/EPRI project. Steve helped us design the electrical system and on several occasions came up to the rooftop to help. I remember one such day when it was already quite hot at 10 AM and Steve said to me to be careful as his experience with crews at SRP was that on such hot days the men would "overheat" and as a sign of this they would become nasty and begin to fight with each other. About three hours later when the temperature on the roof was probably 115 Bill and I started to snipe at each other, we stopped, looked at the rest of our men noting they also looked angry and remembered Steve's words of advice and so called it quits for the day. No one was hurt, no equipment was damaged and everyone thought we used good judgment. Actually we used a great consultant.
Thanks for the memories Steve.
From Ernie Palomino (retired from SRP)
For those of us who were able to attend Steve's memorial service, it brought back many memories. Steve was my supervisor for many years and he was an excellent manager. I remember being introduced to photovoltaic power systems by Steve and working with him to install to a PV system at the Chandler Research House.
Steve was from a generation that is passing into history. I was fortunate to be have had the opportunity to work with individuals like Steve who not only were excellent engineers but had outstanding leadership qualities.
Thanks for all the memories Steve.
From Dick DeBlasio (NREL, IEEE)
As a close friend to all of us Steve will be missed as a real friend and colleague. Steve, served us well and me personally as the IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 vice chair and as the USTC82TAG SERI and NREL managed for many years. Steve played an important role in providing a strong liaison to IEEE SCC21 and TC82 regarding transitioning IEEE standards collaboration in integrating the U.S. position within the international community. He and Jerry Anderson( TC Secretariat) were a sure fire team and served the U.S. well, along with all of you in participating and contributing. At Steve's request, I hosted a few meetings of the NERC Western reliability Consul meetings here at SERI (NREL) back in the 1980's that Steve chaired. His selection of NREL to host the meeting provided a good venue for us at NREL to learn about the electric grid. My good memories will always be when we all traveled internationally with Steve and Jane to many lands to serve the solar world.
Dick DeBlasio, Chief Engineer
National Renewable Energy Laboratory