Funding Program: SuNLaMP
SunShot Subprogram: Systems Integration
Location: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
SunShot Award Amount: $3,000,000

This project aims to develop, demonstrate, and validate a sensing and control mechanism for using power loads to address variable photovoltaic (PV) generation, which will reduce two-way power flow and mitigate voltage instability on distribution level circuits. The availability of this technology will enable increased penetration of renewables while weakening the challenges that arise due to their intermittency in generation by using flexibility on load side.


There is a need to find solutions that can reduce the overvoltage problems caused by rooftop solar PV. This project will develop a distributed control strategy for power loads that are geographically close to  PV assets to minimize the effect on the distribution feeder. It will also develop software and hardware required to orchestrate control and communication between loads and PV generation while taking into consideration timing requirements needed to respond to intermittent generation. Researchers can then perform a scalability analysis of the techniques developed using utility-scale distribution simulations.


This project will create an open-source control framework for exploiting variability and dispatchability of electric power loads. It will demonstrate low-cost, low-touch sensing and control retrofits to distributed PV generation and building loads that can provide the load-shaping response needed to integrate high-levels of renewable penetration. The control technology will be delivered as open-source software and hardware specifications for facilitating widespread end-use load integration and deployment. This project will address the target metrics through dynamic control of load with solar generation variability to minimize the extent of two-way power flow, enhance reliability, facilitate high penetration of PV, and provide scalable software and hardware solutions adaptable to any penetration level.