I spent some time trying to achieve soft shadows by adding a light plane, and then by adding actual lights. This will lighten the shadow, but not soften it. And turning down the sun power to compensate for the additional light darkens the sky.
I think there is clearly a need to enable diffuse sunlight and the resulting soft shadows.
There is also a need to allow the sky to provide indirect illumination to the scene. The sky is, in the real world, a major factor in exterior lighting, and should be a factor in the rendering. I ended my experiments by rendering a simple scene with only normal sunlight, and then with sunlight supplemented by a large, overhead plane on which I used the neon shader to simulate indirect sky light. The renders are attached. The addition of the secondary light contributes significantly to the image (The first image is with the light plane, the second without).
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