Stella the Stargazer – the latest in a trend of luxury, solar-powered getaways


From pv magazine Australia

The continued decline in costs for solar and battery energy storage systems means off-grid living is far more accessible, and luxurious, than previously thought. Take Stella the Stargazer, for instance. The modern (and mobile) “tiny home” bears all the hallmarks of a spruced-up Aussie shed, with some key differences – including a 3 kW solar battery system and a retractable bed that cantilevers outside the structure so that you can sleep under the stars.

Designed by Ample and funded by Visit Victoria, Stella the Stargazer is a limited edition vacation opportunity, a sort of pop-up vacation home that moves every eight weeks. Stella first took up residence among the rolling hills and vineyards of Maffra, in the Australian state of Victoria.

Built using repurposed timber and steel salvaged from true-blue farming shed, a night under the stars with with all the amenities electricity can provide costs roughly AUD 330 ($220) on weekdays and AUD 390 on weekends.

Perfect for couples, the property comes with everything a cosy getaway requires, but none of the superfluous extras that might otherwise distract from the serenity of going off-grid in beautiful country. Stella comes with a fridge, woodfire stove, cooktop, shower and flushable toilet thanks to a fresh rainwater gal-iron tank and wastewater system.

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As a solar-powered off-grid holiday destination, Stella the Stargazer is by no means unique. Residents of Sydney may remember Lilypad Palm Beach, a floating solar-powered villa that enables lucky guests to enjoy all the luxury of an island getaway with none of the sustainability concerns.

The Lilypad Palm Beach Image: The Lilypad Palm Beach

Gawthorne’s Hut is another luxury solar-plus-storage powered off-grid holiday destination within a working farm 10 minutes from the center of Mudgee, New South Wales. The property even won a “Best Unique Stay Australia” award in 2021 from Airbnb.

Black Lab Solar installed this system on the angled galvanized clad shell of Gawthorne’s Hut.
Image: Cameron Anderson Architects

On the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, eco-accomodation company EyreWay has built two solar-powered, off-grid luxury tiny homes.

Maldhi Image: EyreWay / Screenshot

Going off-grid used to suggest an element of roughing it, but thanks to solar and battery energy storage going off-grid looks a lot more amenable to those of us who like a bit of luxury in their lives.

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