Become an 1819 Member






Sign up

An Alabama solar farm is involved in a $1.3 million multi-state settlement for violating the Clean Water Act.

The complaint involved four companies, all owned by large international corporations, that operated solar facilities in Alabama, Illinois and Idaho. The companies together will be compelled to pay $1.3 million in fines.

In Alabama, AL Solar A LLC built a solar farm near LaFayette in Chambers County. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the construction company used to build these facilities did not follow proper environmental guidelines, violating construction permits and rules for handling groundwater as prescribed by the Clean Water Act. In Chambers County, the sediment runoff from the construction of the farm polluted groundwater and nearby waterways. Alabama Power started AL Solar to help Walmart meet its clean and renewable energy goals. It contains 338,662 solar panels spread across 1,100 acres.

"While the development of renewable energy holds great promise for combatting climate change, the solar energy industry must comply with the Clean Water Act," said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The proposed settlements demonstrate the Department of Justice's commitment to require those developing these facilities, including the site owners, to comply with the law, or be held accountable for construction practices that put our waterways at risk."  

The United States and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) filed a stipulation of settlement with AL Solar A LLC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama along with its complaint. Under that settlement, AL Solar will pay a $250,000 civil penalty to the United States and a $250,000 civil penalty to ADEM.

"The development of solar energy is a key component of this Administration's efforts to combat climate change," said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "These settlements send an important message to the site owners of solar farm projects that these facilities must be planned and built in compliance with all environmental laws, including those that prevent the discharge of sediment into local waters during construction."

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning

Become an 1819 Member

Sign up