Decentralized Optimal Dispatch of Photovoltaic Inverters in Residential Distribution Systems

Emiliano Dall-Anese, Sairaj Dhople, Georgios Giannakis, Brian Johnson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

131 Scopus Citations


Summary form only given. Decentralized methods for computing optimal real and reactive power setpoints for residential photovoltaic (PV) inverters are developed in this paper. It is known that conventional PV inverter controllers, which are designed to extract maximum power at unity power factor, cannot address secondary performance objectives such as voltage regulation and network loss minimization. Optimal power flow techniques can be utilized to select which inverters will provide ancillary services, and to compute their optimal real and reactive power setpoints according to well-defined performance criteria and economic objectives. Leveraging advances in sparsity-promoting regularization techniques and semidefinite relaxation, this paper shows how such problems can be solved with reduced computational burden and optimality guarantees. To enable large-scale implementation, a novel algorithmic framework is introduced - based on the so-called alternating direction method of multipliers - by which optimal power flow-type problems in this setting can be systematically decomposed into sub-problems that can be solved in a decentralized fashion by the utility and customer-owned PV systems with limited exchanges of information. Since the computational burden is shared among multiple devices and the requirement of all-to-all communication can be circumvented, the proposed optimization approach scales favorably to large distribution networks.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting - Denver Colorado
Duration: 26 Jul 201530 Jul 2015


Conference2015 IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting
CityDenver Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5D00-67150


  • inverters
  • minimization
  • photovoltaic systems
  • reactive power
  • renewable energy sources
  • voltage control


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