LEAN IN Equity & Sustainability: 60 seconds with Deandra Dimov

Empowering women in energy storage in South Africa

In this latest LEAN IN Equity & Sustainability instalment, we speak with Deandra Dimov, Market Development Manager at Solar MD Pty Ltd based in SA.

Tell us about yourself, Deandra.

I grew up in the little town of Mahikeng, in the North West province of South Africa. When I was little, I wanted to become a judge or work in public relations. I was naturally drawn to roles centred on justice, equality, sustainability or wellness.

What do you do today?

I am the Business Development Manager for Solar MD. I take care of day-to-day social media and marketing operations, passively monitoring social media sites, forums and discussions in the energy storage space. I focus on brand awareness by interacting with clients at trade shows, exhibitions and over various platforms.

Can you tell us more about your company?

Solar MD manufactures energy storage solutions. We produce world-class energy storage solutions with a footprint throughout Southern Africa and currently export our batteries to Germany and Eastern Europe. This is still a niche market on the continent.

In 2024, we hope to be the first Gigafactory in Africa.

How many people do you employ, and how many women?

We employ 90 people, 30% of which are women.

We have six technical staff and three engineers at the moment.

How do you, and how difficult is it, to recruit young women in your industry?

We recruit via LinkedIn predominately for technical profiles and partner with universities to recruit engineering interns.

Professors and universities in SA have taken an interest in our work in the energy storage space.

We have had male and female interns; many have chosen to remain and grow with the company after their internship. We invest heavily in upskilling our interns, so much time and resources go into giving them the experience they need in the assembling, programming, or designing departments.

There is a definite switch beginning now, which will feature strongly in the future as Africa and the rest of the world transition towards renewable energy; energy storage is definitely key to that transition.

Do you think women could access your industry easily?

If they see a career geared towards sustainability and renewable energy, definitely.

What is the current energy situation in South Africa?

We currently deal with varying degrees of load-shedding or power outages, affecting everyone from all walks of life; it affects every industry. This energy insecurity costs the country real jobs and livelihoods, and in many respects, it is crippling the economy.

How do you feel as a woman in the energy sector? Any challenges?

I feel privileged to work with great people who do incredible things at a company that values innovation and invests heavily in the research and development behind the battery we manufacture. We produce products that bring real value – a sort of equal access to energy for all.

What does success or achievement mean to you as a woman?

Doing work that is purposeful and powerful while still having a good work and family life balance. We can have it all, but not at the same time because we wear many hats as a woman.

Where would you like to be in five or ten years?

I want to do more work in Africa and ensure that the batteries we produce are in every country on the continent. More so, I plan to embrace and develop in all areas of the energy storage and renewable energy space.

For more information, please contact: deandra@solarmd.co.za.

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