Comparison of Virtual Oscillator and Droop Control

Brian Johnson, Mohit Sinha, Sairaj Dhople, Miguel Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

77 Scopus Citations


Virtual oscillator control (VOC) and droop control are distinct methods to ensure synchronization and power sharing of parallel inverters in islanded systems. VOC is a control strategy where the dynamics of a nonlinear oscillator are used to derive control states to modulate the switch terminals of an inverter. Since VOC is a time-domain controller that reacts to instantaneous measurements with no additional filters or computations, it provides a rapid response during transients and stabilizes volatile dynamics. In contrast, droop control regulates the inverter voltage in response to the measured average real and reactive power output. Given that real and reactive power are phasor quantities that are not well-defined in real time, droop controllers typically use multiplicative operations in conjunction with low-pass filters on the current and voltage measurements to calculate such quantities. Since these filters must suppress low frequency ac harmonics, they typically have low cutoff frequencies that ultimately impede droop controller bandwidth. Although VOC and droop control can be engineered to produce similar steady-state characteristics, their dynamic performance can differ markedly. This paper presents an analytical framework to characterize and compare the dynamic response of VOC and droop control. The analysis is experimentally validated with three 120 V inverters rated at 1kW, demonstrating that for the same design specifications VOC is roughly 8 times faster and presents almost no overshoot after a transient.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2017
Event2017 IEEE 18th Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics (COMPEL) - Stanford, California
Duration: 9 Jul 201712 Jul 2017


Conference2017 IEEE 18th Workshop on Control and Modeling for Power Electronics (COMPEL)
CityStanford, California

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5D00-68204 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5D00-70288


  • droop control
  • island
  • microgrid
  • virtual oscillator


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