This article in MIT Technology Review describes just the type of project I want to get involved with. I'm specifically interested in how they hope "to use the data to build a computer program and database with, among other things, average flat-surface solar radiation readings for neighborhoods across the United States (as measured by the weather service at the nearest airport). Punch in the performance characteristics of the roofing product you want to use, plus your location, roof orientation and slope, and other data, and -- bingo -- you'll know what kind of wattage you can expect from your roof."
This is a great example of software applications and systems facilitating the development, competitiveness and adoption of clean and renewable energy sources and energy conservation opportunities. Which if you weren't already aware is my newly defined mission!