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A Screening Tool for 1-10 MW Distributed Generation and Renewable Energy Projects

SmartDG+ is a free, online, map-based screening tool sponsored by MEA and PPRP. It is intended to help developers and officials identify promising areas for the location of new wind, solar, and CHP (combined heat and power) projects in Maryland. The tool focuses on screening factors of relevance to 1-10 megawatt (MW) projects—i.e., bigger than rooftop solar. (1 MW of solar requires ~5 acres of land; 1 MW of wind requires ~2 acres. CHP projects are typically located in buildings with large electrical and thermal loads.)

In order to create SmartDG+, PPRP evaluated electrical lines throughout Maryland, gathered publically available data on numerous barriers to project construction, and met with county and utility officials to discuss local priorities and policies of relevance. Combining this information is intended to help everyone save time and make better decisions about where to focus further research.

   Infrastructure Proximity:
   • Electricity lines
   • Gas lines (CHP only)

   Renewable Resource Availability:
   • Viable wind speeds (wind only)

   Land Suitability:
   • Protected areas
   • Flood zones
   • Land cover/land use
   • Airports (wind only)
   • DOD no-go zones
   • County zoning


The linchpin of SmartDG+ is a statewide map of 1-to-4 mile wide corridors surrounding electrical distribution and transmission lines that appear strong enough to absorb 1-10 MW projects. Within these corridors, the tool shows areas that remain promising after various standard screens—involving resource availability, land use, protected areas, and more—have been applied. The screening results are shown as three technology-specific data layers:
  • Possible areas for SOLAR;
  • Possible areas for WIND; and
  • Possible areas for CHP (learn more)

Viewers can choose additional screens such as:
  • County-level zoning (learn more)
  • County-level protected areas
  • NAS Patuxent River Protected Areas
  • MALPF easements
  • Forested lands

    Utilities must always be consulted to determine whether a specific project can safely and economically connect to the grid.

SmartDG+ Report User Guide

Launch Smart DG+ Tool

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This page was updated on July 31, 2017 .