Advanced control techniques may be used to establish a virtual power plant to regulate the operation of electric water heaters, which may be regarded as a “uni-directional battery” and a major component of a hybrid residential energy storage system. In order to estimate the potential of regulating water heaters at the aggregated level, factors including user behavior, number of water heaters, and types of water heaters must be considered. This study develops generic water heater load curves based on the data retrieved from large experimental projects for resistive electric water heaters (EWHs) and heat pump water heaters (HPWHs). A community-level digital twin with scalability has been developed to capture the aggregated hot water flow and average hot temperature in the tank. The results in this paper also include the “energy take” in line with the CTA-2045 standard and Energy Star specification. The data from the experiments demonstrated that changing from an EWH to an HPWH reduces electricity usage by approximately 70%. The case study showed that daily electricity usage could be shifted by approximately 14% and 17% by EWH and HPWHs, respectively, compared to their corresponding average power. Another case study showed that both EHWs and HPWHs, coordinated with PV to reduce morning and evening peaks, could shift approximately 22% of the daily electricity.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in IEEE Access, v. 9.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

The support of A.O. Smith Corporation and of University of Kentucky, the L. Stanley Pigman endowment, is gratefully acknowledged.