Do you know what Genetic Algoithms are? They're this really cool technique for finding the best solution given a certain set of inputs. It almost removes the need for actual thinking when it comes to certain things. Only certain things though . . .
Like where to put a solar panel to produce the most electricity.
I was thinking, why not have an array of transparent solar cells in the desert? Lay them out like massive flowers, producing electricity that can be stored in a grid. I'm serious, why not? Heck, you could probably put more transparent solar cells underneath them and produce even more. If you put them on poles, then atop the poles could be windmills that add to the energy production in times of desert storms.
But how would you place them? What would be a good arrangement? Well, if you don't want to blanket the surface, this becomes a serious issue to think about. It's actually not that hard to implement really. Just write a program that would do the work of figuring it out based on the position of one unit you could mass produce.
Could you fund this? Sure you could. This could be made an open source-ish venture. Have people provide the funding, get the solar panels produced in Mexico, and buy the cheap desert land (death valley, I'd guess, has an enormous amount of sunlight and not much else). Make regions that are considered not worth human effort powerhouses.
My humblest of humble opinions is that this could be done. My not-so-humble opinion is that this idea has a lot of merit.
Thank you for your time.