I think the key to generating innovation in this space is to create a big community of energy hobbyists - the hackers and makers who have driven innovation in computer hardware, software and many other industries. To enable this we need inexpensive standardized modular components, including micro-generation devices and storage, that hobbyists and makers can use to build their own systems and experiment with renewable energy. Most importantly, we need a programmable and networked centralized controller so we can do interesting things with these devices. I think there is a huge untapped market of people who have an interest in this but are prevented from building and tinkering by price barriers. I know because I'm one of them. As a programmer and hacker, and I'd like to experiment with small energy generation devices, but spending thousands on a solar panel system that is hard to modify is not what I want.
I've submitted an idea to the Challenge, called "Flexible, Modular, Programmable Residential Power Center", to see if we can get GE to create and bring to market the inexpensive standardized components needed to lower the barriers to energy system tinkering. Check out the Challenge and my idea. Of course, if you agree with my goal I'd like your support. Also, think revolutionary thoughts and contribute *your* ideas, and then talk about them here so we can support them. Currently there are only a thousand ideas, and the top one has less than five hundred votes, so we can own this. (annoying registration required to submit, vote and comment, but it's free)