Products, Projects

Hei! There’s a New Way to do Solar Lighting.

Sustainable Outdoor Lighting Solutions

Contributed by

DI Blaz Grudnik Tominc, M.Arch.
Head of Product Design,
HEI Technology International GmbH

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e: [email protected]
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The project

Nad al Sheba 3 housing development in Dubai, U.A.E. by local developer Nakheel PJSC

The challenge

  • Outdoor lighting for 780 new homes meeting the developer’s sustainability requirements
  • Shortages in the local public power grid
  • High maintenance costs due to sand accumulation
  • Traditional grid-connected or flat solar panels were not a viable solution

The solution: Off-grid solar light poles

LightFair exhibitor HEI Technology International GmbH developed, manufactured, and supported the installation of more than 330 off-grid solar light poles with unique, vertically integrated cylindrical photovoltaics called the HEI Power Tube.

The benefits

  • Developed and manufactured in Vienna, Austria, this green innovation avoids operation CO2 emissions and electricity costs, reduces installation work, and minimizes CO2 emissions, water consumption, and labor expenses resulting from maintenance.
  • The HEI solar light poles will save more than 483,200kWh yearly, resulting in a reduction of more than 1,500,000 € in electricity costs, 8,292 tons of CO2 emissions, and 330,000 l of water in the next 30 years, besides tens of thousands of tons of CO2 emissions and labor costs, saved by simplified installation and reduced maintenance.
  • The solution is a complete, smart, off-grid lighting system, where the electric energy to power the luminaire is obtained by the HEI Power Tube during daytime and is stored in the batteries to be used for the lighting during the night.
  • A smart energy management system in combination with highly-efficient luminaires ensures that light is distributed precisely where and when it is needed.

HEI’s solar lighting at Nad al Sheba 3 is a case study for other such developments in the region and globally.

About the project

Hei’s vertically integrated cylindrical photovoltaics

Nad al Sheba 3 is a 1.2 km2 housing project by a local real estate developer Nakheel PJSC in the vicinity of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, U.A.E.

The urban design consists of a main arterial road, around which the secondary roads are arranged, providing access to around 780 new homes.

The area has been developed from scratch which meant that public infrastructure, including public lighting, had to be constructed as well. The developer Nakheel wanted a sustainable, energy-efficient, CO2-saving, but also cost-saving infrastructure.

Thinking outside the panel: when conventional solutions would not be enough

Even though the local electricity tariff is low compared to Europe, the electricity generation in the U.A.E. in 2019 still amounted to more than 35 % of total CO2 emissions (International Energy Agency, Because of commercial and sustainability reasons (CO2 emissions, copper demand, etc.), as well as shortages in the local public power grid, cabled grid connection for street light poles has been considered inadequate.

On the other hand, in desert regions, such as the Arabian Peninsula, solar light poles with flat photovoltaic panels are not a reliable solution either. Due to dust and sand in the air, such flat panels must be cleaned every four to six weeks and after every sandstorm. This causes significant maintenance costs and incredibly high water consumption, as water is primarily used to clean such flat panels.

Moreover, stopping maintenance trucks on the streets to clean the solar light poles is a safety risk and causes congestions.

Finally, the appearance of the flat panels has not been recognized as aesthetically pleasing. Because of unpractical operation and wasteful maintenance, solar light poles with flat photovoltaic panels could therefore not have been considered either.

As such, the developer had been looking for reliable and sustainable public street lighting and a suitable long-term solution.

Green Innovations for Outdoor Lighting

Hei’s sustainable green innovation solution delivered on cost savings and aesthetics too

HEI took on the challenge of providing a public lighting solution that would avoid CO2 emissions and electricity costs, reduce construction costs, and minimize operation and maintenance expenses.

Moreover, the appearance and aesthetics of the new infrastructure was of utmost importance and the design of the highly visible light poles was crucial.

The illumination of roads had to be done according to the local illumination standards, providing minimum 1.5 cd/sqm (ME2 lighting class) for main double-lane arterial road, 0.5 cd/sqm (ME5 lighting class) for secondary one-lane roads, and a special requirement of minimum 20 lux (CE2 lighting class) for roundabouts.

As the grid connection to individual light poles could not be considered because of sustainability and costs issues, 24 hours of autonomy of solar light poles had to be provided as a security measure.

A case study in viable, forward-looking, sustainable lighting solutions

The project was more than a job to the Hei team. It was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that the quality, reliability, and design of sustainable solar lighting solutions had already surpassed those of the conventional products. The HEI team drove the point home in the gulf region that solar was ready to lead the change in the field of outdoor lighting.

To learn more about HEI’s innovations, visit Be sure to stop by the Hei booth at LightFair.

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