So, I settled on an answer to my Solarpunk progress failure problem. I was thinking about it today, and I just kind of got fed up with myself and started a different story, one that's been kicking around in my head for a little while. It's about a woman who has depression, has been in treatment for a long time, and has made progress but is still significantly affected by her illness. It's near-future SF, and she signs up for a drug trial -- a late stage of a new Augmented Reality program for treating depression. It's a "Depression Buddy" -- I'm almost definitely going to change the name in the next draft -- a little avatar that has access to your heart rate, brain activity, etc., and can hear your sub-vocalization. It's there to give helpful tips on the day-to-day management of depression. "Just because she said that doesn't mean she hates you," "If you have just ice cream for dinner you'll feel like crap tomorrow," "You haven't had any water today," stuff like that. It learns over time, and responds to her preferences and needs.
I'm not sure where I want the story to go. Traditionally, there ought to be a conflict. I don't want to write a "Medicine is bad" story, so I'm not going to write the app as a horrible failure. But there're questions of dependency, of the need for time alone, of jealousy with real people in her life. Then, there are questions of ethics: do she and the developers have ideological differences that might cause the app to undermine her identity? When the trial's over, how do they monetize it? Are they going to sell adspace in her head?
Maybe the story won't emerge quite correctly for a few drafts.
But anyway, that's where I'm at, writing-wise.