Building Thermal Loads for Power Voltage Control

Deep integration of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation in power distribution systems may cause voltage stability issues. The resultant voltage fluctuations can over-stress legacy voltage regulation devices, such as on-load tap changers and switched capacitors, and lead to high maintenance costs. The collocated electrical appliances in buildings, when properly controlled, can mitigate the volatility of renewable generation and support voltage regulation in distribution networks.

Our research group is actively researching on new control strategies and hardware development to enable voltage regulation capabilities in HVAC and refrigeration equipment. Current research efforts include voltage regulation algorithm design for centralized variable-capacity HVAC systems and coordination strategies for a fleet of small-sized residential or commercial buildings.

Left: Power profiles with PV smoothing. Right: Power profiles without PV smoothing.


  • Jiang, Z., Cai, J. and Moses, P. Smoothing Control of Solar Photovoltaic Generation Using Building Thermal Loads, Applied Energy, 2020, preprint. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.115523.
  • Elhefny, A., Jiang, Z. and Cai, J., Co-Simulation and Energy Management of Photovoltaic-Rich Residential Communities for Improved Distribution Voltage Support with Flexible Loads, Solar Energy, 2022, preprint. DOI: 10.1016/j.solener.2021.11.051.
  • Cai, J. and Jiang, Z., Primal-Dual Distributed Control of Residential Load Aggregation for Distribution Voltage Regulation, Solar Energy, 2022, under review.