After 50 years in the business, we’ve answered a lot of questions. Here’s a list of the most frequently asked – but if you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, do drop us a line.


After 50 years in the business, we’ve answered a lot of questions. Here’s a list of the most frequently asked – but if you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, do drop us a line.

Why should I use Summit?

Summit is the largest and most experienced Electronic Systems Contractor in Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties. We have the capable professionals to design, manage and install electronic systems projects of any size. We focus on designing systems that meet your specific needs. We call it “Technology for your lifestyle”.

How is Summit different?

  • Our business began in 1968 and we plan to continue supporting our existing customers and doing projects for new customers for many years to come.
  • We have a division that specializes in electronic systems. We also install the high voltage electrical systems . Each division can work independently or we can work together to provide our customers with THE TOTAL SOLUTION.
  • We operate out of a fully-equipped Design Center for the benefit of our clients.
  • Our Team of exceptionally qualified and experienced employees feels passionately about exceeding our customer’s expectations and delivering “Technology for your Lifestyle.”

What is your warranty policy?

We guarantee all material and installation labor for one (1) year from the date of installation. The equipment warranty may be longer, depending on the manufacturer. Having said that, our goal is to achieve 100% client satisfaction. We will return and work with any client until that goal is achieved. We also offer several Extended Warranty – Preventative Maintenance Programs. For more information please email: or call 707.766.1510.

Can I run my smart home via WiFi only?

Yes, but WiFi is like a highway – the more WiFi traffic the slower the highway will run. It’s good practice to use network wiring where possible – more reliable, more secure, faster and does not slow down like WiFi when the network is busier.

Do I need surround sound?

Modern TVs are super-slim, which look great on a wall, but built-in speakers are also thin – making audio tinny and difficult to hear. It’s a good idea to use speakers external to the TV – this enables individual speaker volume control which improves dialogue and provides a platform to easily add surround sound – just like a movie theater experience at home.

Why should I consider an 8K TV?

TV displays are made up of dots called pixels – the more pixels, the clearer the picture. 8K displays have approximately eight times the number of pixels compared to high definition. Even though 8K programming is not generally available, an 8K display will provide an improved picture over 4K, or high definition displays.

What’s the best way to stream Netflix?

An inexpensive appliance like Apple TV is a flexible device to stream all kinds of services like Amazon, Hulu and Vudu. Technology moves fast – it’s much easier and less costly to upgrade a small appliance when streaming services innovate, rather then replacing a wall mounted TV.

How can I get better WiFi?

Service providers provide a one stop shop for internet access and WiFi via their device. For multi-level homes, or WiFi noisy environments like apartments, a provider supplied device may be unable to connect to all your WiFi devices. Better WiFi often needs additional devices to propagate WiFi throughout the home.

How do I automatically turn on my outdoor lighting?

Lighting control systems have built-in astronomic clocks – this allows any outdoor connected lighting to turn on and off keyed on sunset – eg turn on at sunset and off four hours after sunset.

My family leaves lights on – how can I alleviate this with technology?

Lighting control systems allow lighting to be turned off at specific times, or via motion detection.

How can I protect my hard wood floors from fading in the sun

Use of shading fabrics that project against ultra violet light – mounted inside, or outside windows can also protect art and furnishings from damaging sunlight

How can I check when a package is delivered to my home?

Smart intercoms connected to the internet can automatically alert your cellphone when a package is delivered.

How can I shade windows I cannot reach?

Motorized shades operate via remote control – so can be activated from a distance.

My insurance company says I need monitored smoke detection – what is this?

If smoke is detected, an alert is sent via phone, internet, or cellular to a monitoring service who signal the home owner and the fire department.

How can I enter my property if I forget my key?

Doors fitted with smart locks allow entry via a keycode, keyfob, or smartphone.

I’d like to be able to see my property when I’m not home – how do I do this?

Cameras connected to the internet allow remote users to see a property via their smart phones, or computers.

How can I give access to service personnel if I’m not home

Door locks with keycodes allow users with pre-authorized codes to access the home.

How do I turn on my heating if I’m not home?

Smart thermostats connected to the internet allow users to control their HVAC systems via their smart phones.

How long have you been in business?

Summit was founded in 1968 by Richard Dashiell. His son, Laurence Dashiell, took over ownership in 1986.

What electrical contracting services do you provide?

Summit is a full service electrical contractor with nearly 40 years of experience in the commercial, industrial, institutional, residential, and design/build markets. As a full-service contractor, Summit, Inc. capably handles all aspects of any electrical project: Consultation, design and engineering, installation, and service.

What specialized services do you provide?

In addition to standard electrical installations, we offer the following specialized services:

  • Home Theater
  • Lighting Control
  • Audio/Video
  • Total Control
  • Security & Surveillance
  • Voice & Data Networks
  • Boardroom Systems
  • Back-up Power Systems
  • Energy Efficient Systems
  • 24/7 Electrical Service

What is lighting design?

In its simplest form, lighting design is what allows you to see your environment. Without good light, even the simplest tasks can be cumbersome.

Do I need lighting design?

New technology in lighting can mimic natural light, adjust to an environment, enhance moods, increase productivity, and even help you sleep. Many people are now embracing lighting as an essential factor of health and well-being.

What sets you apart from other electrical contracting firms?

There was once a time when architects, interior designers, contractors and clients who wanted to add electrical service, lighting, audio-video, automation, voice and data networks, and security systems to their projects faced a big challenge. They needed someone to design, supply, install and support these solutions. They had to organize a multitude of different contractors, sorting out who would be responsible for each task and scheduling when each would work.

Summit is the North Bay’s leading Electrical/Electronic Systems integrator. With one phone call to Summit, clients can lower their stress and increase their satisfaction. Our three divisions work hand in hand to provide our clients a full spectrum of services – from low- to high-voltage – and engineered network solutions.

What kinds of back-up power solutions do your provide?

Summit designs and installs residential and business back up power systems. Generators, battery back-up systems and uninterruptible power sources are all viable options, and surprisingly affordable. Call us today for a consultation and never be without power again!

How can I improve energy efficiency at my home or business?

Summit  offers many energy saving solutions for home and business:

  • Energy audits
  • Lighting retrofits and PG&E rebate processing
  • Power saving lighting
  • Control systems & occupancy sensors
  • “Smart building” automation systems
  • Programmable thermostats for HVAC
  • Solar energy systems

Are your Service Technicians licensed and insured?

All of our Service Technicians are licensed, bonded, California State Certified Journeyman Electricians.

What are your regular business hours?

8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday

What areas do you serve?

We have Service Technicians in Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties.

Will the Service Technician be able to stay and complete my request on their first trip out?

Barring special order items, our Service Technicians are prepared to stay and complete any work quoted to you on their first trip out. They arrive in a fully-stocked service truck and generally have all of the parts on board to complete standard service requests.

Can I get a same day appointment?

We generally have same day or next day appointments available. In the event of an electrical emergency, we will make every effort to get someone out to you immediately. We also offer after-hours appointments.

I work during the day, Monday through Friday. Is it possible to have someone come out after regular business hours or on the weekend?

We offer 24/7 electrical service. After-hours and weekend appointments are always an option.

What do I do if I have an electrical emergency in the middle of the night or on a weekend?

Call our office outside of regular business hours and an automated attendant will direct you to press “9” for emergency electrical service. At that point, calls are transferred to a live operator who takes the caller’s information. One of our highly skilled Service Technicians will return client calls within an hour.

My wife and children will be home alone at the time of our appointment. What assurances do I have that they will be safe with one of your technicians in our home?

We are very conscientious about client safety and security. For this reason, all of our employees are drug-tested and have a full background screening completed before they are hired. Our company and employees are fully licensed, bonded and insured.

I see that you are a Diamond Certified company. What does this mean?

We are Diamond Certified, which means that we are independently rated “highest in quality” in our area by the American Ratings Corporation. Their 12-step certification process requires companies to score in the highest level of quality (90 or above on a 100 scale) via an independent customer satisfaction study. It doesn’t stop there. Each company that earns the Diamond Certified award is re-rated on an ongoing basis, so you can be assured that in order for a company to keep its Diamond Certified status it must continue to deliver high customer satisfaction. You can learn more by visiting the Diamond Certified website at

Do you offer a warranty on your work?

We warrant our work free from defects in material and workmanship for the warranty period. Unless otherwise stated in writing on a client invoice, the warranty period is ninety (90) days from completion of the project. Having said that, 100% client satisfaction is our goal. When a client is not satisfied with our work, for any reason, we will return and work to resolve the problem until the client is completely happy.

What are the differences between battery systems and Generators?

A battery system will work for you every day charging with low credit solar power in the morning, and then releasing that low credit power into your home during PG&E’s high cost time of use period. A generate while it will perform well during an outage (if you remember to perform the monthly maintenance on it) only works for you during an outage, not every day like the battery system.

Even when a generator works for you during an outage, as long as that generator is running it is costing you money in fuel: whether it be Diesel, propane or natural gas, you will have new bill at the end of it.

What are the different types of Lithium Battery Chemistries?

There are two main types that et widely used today NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide) or LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate). The major differences in these two chemistries is in their longevity (LFP will allow for more lifetime cycles than the NMC) and in their thermal properties (LFP does not have a thermal property – meaning it will not catch fire)

Can a battery system back up my whole house?

Yes and No, this is a loaded question that completely depends on the size of the solar, the amount of batteries you are willing to install, and the over all load of the home. This question should never be answered with a simple yes, and if it is, please get another quote.

How many hours will a battery system back up my house?

This is also not a simple question, this has everything to do with what loads you want backed up (Specifically how many AMPS/how much wattage they will run at and for how long). It has to do with the size of the solar system that is attached to the battery, if it is during the day when the solar is on or at night when it is off. I find the simplest way to explain this is as follows:

If a battery system has the ability to release 2,000 watts of power at any one time and is a 6kwh system, then the battery would last for 3hrs; if it was running 500 watts then it would last for 12hrs. Again, this all has to do with what’s back up on the battery and how you as the home owner interacts with those backed up loads.

Why should I use Summit Renewables?

Experience – The most experienced solar installer in Sonoma County Area, Summit has been dedicated to installing high-performing renewable energy systems since 1990. We have been in the Electrical business for 50 years, we can evaluate your electrical needs and draw the nexus between your power use and what you could be paying for your power as well as giving you energy-saving tips that would save energy without a large outlay of cash. Over the years, our team has been constantly learning and improving, making every installation even better than the last. Customers leverage this experience to ensure that their solar project will be finished on-time and on-budget. Our projects generate revenue quickly and without any the last minute financial surprises so often associated with projects of this size.

Expertise – Not all solar contractors are electricians. Summit has highly trained electrical professionals, which allows us to provide one of the finest and most affordable Solar Electric services throughout all of Northern California. As a full-service Electrical Contracting Company we provide turn key PV solar systems from design to finished installation. Not only are we a complete Solar Electric Company but we are Professional Electricians capable of all electrical tasks including commercial and residential wiring.

Customer Focus – We’re small enough to give each customer personalized attention and support yet big enough to have the resources to work on almost any sized project. Our customers can continue to focus their attention on their core business concerns because our staff will meticulously track and communicate every detail of a project from start to finish.

Customer Satisfaction – The best measurement of a company’s success is repeat business and referrals. A large portion of our business is generated either from a referral or a follow-up project being done by one of our existing customers.

Locally Based, Locally Focused – Many solar companies choose to dilute their resources by establishing geographically diverse offices. At Summit we have found that being the best requires a dedication to a more localized service area allowing us to better understand state subsidy programs, utility company regulations, and better navigate application processes.

Being a locally based company also assures that our customers will get quicker response times and better service for years to come. Talk to a sales person today Chances are good that we have successfully implemented a project very similar to yours. If we have not, our years of expertise will guide us to the best alternative for your specific needs. 707-542-4773 or e-mail at

How do Solar Panels generate electricity?

Solar Panels are made of Silicon.  When sunlight is absorbed by the Silicon, it releases electrons.  When released, those electrons only have one place they want to go; ground.  The solar panel and associated wiring direct those free-wheeling electrons to the route to ground that will generate power for you; Power that you can use in your home or to sell back to the utility for other buildings to use.

Will my Solar Panels act as a backup if the utility power goes out?

In most cases, no; your system is designed to work along with your utility.  If the system detects that there is no power available from the grid, it shuts down.  This is a code requirement that protects the utility lineman from shock hazards that would be created from a system sending power into the grid without their knowledge.  However, it is possible to set up batteries that are charged by the output of your solar array.  In that case, you would have power until those batteries were spent.  The more batteries, the more storage and the longer you will have power while your utility is down.

How long will a Solar Power system last?

Most panel manufacturers warranty their modules for 20 or 25 years.  That’s a long warranty.  Although there are not many systems in the US that have been around that long, there’s known to be systems in California approaching 40 years and still running strong.

Do I need a new roof before I get solar?

Your roof needs to be in good condition simply because you don’t want to incur the cost of removing the solar to replace the roof.  Generally, if a roof has at least 10 years left on its manufacturer warranty, it should be OK.  Solar panels can actually extend the life of the roof because it will be shaded from the sun and won’t get as hot.

What kind of maintenance does a Solar electric system require?

Solar electric systems require little maintenance.  In our area, normal rainfall cycles may keep the panels clean enough during the rainy season.  During dry periods, it is a good idea to hose them off with a garden hose (just don’t do it when it’s very sunny out).  I good rule to live by is that if you have a lot of dust or pollen on your car, there’s likely just as much on your panels and you should hose them off.  We also offer twice yearly (or more often if your array is in an agricultural area prone to dust and pollen) maintenance programs.  An additional service that we offer along the lines of maintenance is to reposition your array to take best advantage of the position of the sun in the different seasons.

What are the benefits to owning a Solar electric system?

There are many. Typically, you can greatly reduce your electric bill or even eliminate it altogether.  Combine that with the Federal Investment Tax Credit and the Solar Renewable Energy Credit program and the costs are reduced to the point where your system can pay a rate of return much higher than the stock market or bank deposits.  Lastly, it helps the environment – every Solar electric system installed is like planting acres of trees.

What do I do next?

Call Summit today at 707-542-4773 or click the link below to fill out a questionnaire here that will give our team what they need to start charting your power-generation needs and goals.  Here comes the SUN!