Optimal dispatch of PV inverters in unbalanced distribution systems using Reinforcement Learning

Pedro P. Vergara*, Mauricio Salazar, Juan S. Giraldo, Peter Palensky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, a Reinforcement Learning (RL)-based approach to optimally dispatch PV inverters in unbalanced distribution systems is presented. The proposed approach exploits a decentralized architecture in which PV inverters are operated by agents that perform all computational processes locally; while communicating with a central agent to guarantee voltage magnitude regulation within the distribution system. The dispatch problem of PV inverters is modeled as a Markov Decision Process (MDP), enabling the use of RL algorithms. A rolling horizon strategy is used to avoid the computational burden usually associated with continuous state and action spaces, coupled with a computationally efficient learning algorithm to model the action-value function for each PV inverter. The effectiveness of the proposed decentralized RL approach is compared with the optimal solution provided by a centralized nonlinear programming (NLP) formulation. Results showed that within several executions, the proposed approach converges either to the optimal solution or to solutions with a PV curtailment excess of less than 2.5% while still enforcing voltage magnitude regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107628
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems
Early online date13 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Distribution systems
  • Optimal dispatch
  • PV systems
  • Reinforcement Learning
  • Voltage regulation


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