No, you cannot use your solar panels when the power goes down, however, you do have two solar power system options to protect yourself in the event of a power outage. 1) A battery backup system using an off-grid or hybrid inverter 2) adding SMA's optional Secure Power System (SPS) to the Sunny Boy. The average cost of this upgrade is about $350 to $400.
SMA’s Secure Power Supply does something that no other grid-tied solar inverter without added storage can: provide power during a grid outage. And if you're not ready to commit to SPS right away, it’s a simple retrofit at any time after the system is commissioned. SPS can provide a maximum of 2,000 watts and you can use it to power things like a few bulbs, charge your cell phones, power gaming equipment, keep your beer cold, or many other electrical items that don't require a lot of power to operate. In addition, SMA SPS has built-in automatic over-current protection that simply deactivates the feature when either 2,000 watts or 20 amps is exceeded.