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Could farmers replace their crops with solar panels? The state of New Jersey is getting ready to make that a possibility. CBS 3's technology reporter Stephanie Abrams shows us how solar energy is breaking through the clouds of a foreboding economy.

The idea of getting energy from the sun has electrified homeowners in New Jersey. Folks like Ed Eivich covered their roofs in solar panels because watching their meters go backwards is almost as nifty as not paying home energy bills.

"When you see it running backwards, you feel like you're kind of stealing, but it is just a great way of saving on electric," said Eivich.

Now a bill approved by the New Jersey Senate is creating a ray of light for struggling crop farmers or homeowners in Pitman, New Jersey, a place with lots of unused acreage

Imagine a solar farm growing energy.

"It's a clean power source, and we desperately need that. We need to put more power into the grid, and it's a good investment," said Steve Masapollo, the CEO of SolarWorks NJ.

Masapollo says he's contracted seven solar farms to be built within a year.

"There is a possibility that you will see panels as you drive through New Jersey sitting next to corn fields or soybean fields," said Masapollo.

Contribute to the grid and get paid for the energy you produce. No planting, no watering, no maintenance. That's a plan Eivich is ready to get in on.

"I'll be able to lease some of the ground for the panels, so we'll get a return on the ground," said Eivich.

Eivich will be one of the first solar farmers in New Jersey, covering 12 of his 27 acres here with about 9000 solar panels.

SolarWorks says it will cost $14 million but promises the investment will pay for itself within six years. Still, there's no real track record.

"But we know that this is the right thing to do, and this is the future of energy," said Eivich.

That's why in spite of a gloomy economy, SolarWorks is seeing sunny days, ranked as the fastest-growing business in the Philadelphia area and southern Jersey.