I never understood why summer officially begins on a date when “summer” has clearly been underway for over a month. Ditto winter, of course: If you haven’t already frozen solid by the official start of winter, you’re not trying hard enough.
The reason of course is that some clueless solon decreed that summer and winter shall begin at the solstice – which has everything to do with the length of the sunlit day and nothing whatever to do with the weather, which is what the season is really all about.
It used to really confuse me because prior to moving off grid I never paid the slightest attention to the solstices. Now I live by them like any Wiccan.
When I built the Lair I didn’t fully appreciate the meaning of declination – which ought to be a pagan concept if it isn’t – and so, though I always intended to mount solar panels on the roof when I could afford to I didn’t orient the cabin to true south – It’s oriented to magnetic south, which at this declination is considerably different.
That opened an opportunity last summer when I built the new ground mount. Of course it’s oriented to true south, which points more toward the sunset. It’s also at a better angle for winter efficiency, so I manage to squeeze out advantage year-round from a still very small installation.