Sarika on the impact of her own work and more women at SMA
Sarika Agarwal has been working at SMA Sunbelt for five years. The subsidiary of SMA was founded in 2014 and focuses on innovative off-grid, hybrid, and battery-based projects with a focus on the Sunbelt regions (Africa, Central America and Caribbean, Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Pacific). As a System Development Engineer, Sarika is now a battery specialist. She tells us in an interview how she came to SMA and why she is so motivated by working on the energy transition.
How did you come to work at SMA Sunbelt?
I started at SMA Sunbelt almost five years ago. Alongside my studies in renewable energy in Berlin, I completed a six-month internship at SMA Sunbelt. I also wrote my final thesis here and was subsequently taken on. My start was in project development and management as a battery engineer. I still work in this area today. As the technical contact person, I act as the link between the battery manufacturers and our internal teams. Together, we take care of the batteries throughout the entire life cycle of the project.
What makes working at SMA Sunbelt special?
We have almost 15 nationalities in a team of around 50 people. We are a very international group. As a result, we come into contact with many different cultures and learn a lot about people, their lives and their ways of working. It also brings a certain flexibility, because there is no rigid protocol about how to work because there are so many nationalities. Everyone understands that the other person has a different working style and tries to cater to the individual processes.
I have come to really appreciate this flexibility. In the beginning I worked in Kassel, but for personal reasons I moved to India for two years and continued working from there. And then I moved back to Kassel two years ago. Through the time in India and now Corona, I’ve been working from home for four years now and it’s going very well.
How does the collaboration with SMA work?
We utilize each other’s experience. SMA and SMA Sunbelt work together on a project-specific basis when help is needed for certain tasks. For example, we are currently cooperating on working with a particular battery manufacturer because we are both trying to implement projects with them. We exchange project-specific – requirements when there are overlaps.
What is important to you in your work? What motivates you?
My work should challenge me. I don’t just want to apply the knowledge I’ve studied, but also learn new things every day so that I can use them to solve new tasks and develop myself further. I want to make a difference and be helpful to the company.
Working at SMA Sunbelt is very important for me, because here I can not only use my skills, but really make a difference in society. In the fight against the climate crisis and the introduction of renewable energy, battery storage is essential. This is extremely important to me. Our work is already helping people. For example, on a small island, 3000 people were able to quickly restore their own power after a hurricane thanks to our energy storage solutions and renewable energy.
Why did you choose SMA as your employer?
I always wanted to work in this industry, and that’s what brought me to SMA. Everyone involved in renewable energy knows SMA and the high quality of its products. New technologies are developed and introduced here. That is an important reason for me to work here: The way you get exposed to technology and the latest innovations in the industry and the impact it makes.
What would you like to pass on to young women?
Study technology! I would really love to see more women come into engineering and SMA. That would be a dream. I used to go to the cafeteria and count the number of women there and think, “Oh, that’s a really bad ratio.” When a delegation of engineers came for training, I counted again and every time – no women. So I really want more women!
SMA is a very flexible company. That’s an important factor for women to have the opportunity to support the family and have a demanding job at the same time. I think there are also fewer women in the renewable energy industry because you often have to travel to construction sites and remote locations for projects. That’s not always what women are looking for in a job. But these days, there are many more opportunities to work remotely, such as remote commissioning and or troubleshooting remotely. Electrical engineering is not just electrical engineering, now there are jobs in computer science and electronics where you don’t have to travel as much.
Thanks for the interview, Sarika.
Do you want to actively shape the energy supply of the future? Then SMA is the right place for you. Take a look at our job offers and find out about your opportunities and benefits at SMA!
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