Helen Livingston's family has owned a 300-acre farm near Maxton for generations. Now 45 acres of the land is covered with more than 26,000 dark solar panels, making it part of a growing movement to harvest electricity from the sun.
Solar farms like Livingston's are cropping up all over North Carolina, shining rays of hope on economically depressed areas by bringing jobs, a constant stream of revenue and the potential to attract eco-friendly industry and economic investment.
North Carolina has become a leader in the country in the growth of the farms, and Robeson County is near the top of the state in terms of solar capacity.
Chris Dunbar, vice president of operations for Asheville-based FLS Energy, calls North Carolina the "East Coast hub" for solar energy. FLS is one of the companies with several solar projects across North Carolina.