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Home Solar Panels by FieroTony
Started on: 11-01-2018 09:54 AM
Replies: 22 (358 views)
Last post by: Old Lar on 12-01-2018 01:47 PM
FieroTony
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Report this Post11-01-2018 09:54 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroTonyClick Here to Email FieroTonySend a Private Message to FieroTonyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I don't know much about home solar panels nor know anyone with them. So...………...I'm reaching out here to anyone with them or knowledge thereof.

There's a solar company working on a few houses at the other side of the neighborhood. A rep from the company came around a couple of days ago, to briefly go over some options/systems. Basically, general information. He looked over our electric bills, took some info and is coming back next Wednesday to go over the specifics including costs. Personally, right at this moment I'm not too impressed.

First and foremost, the panels have to be placed where the we get most of the sunshine, understandably. However, that means placing those ugly monstrous panels right on the front of the house. Then he went over some general pricing based on the local area houses as a model. Approximately $30,000 to buy or a 25+ year lease based off of $150 month that goes up every year. Average area electric bill was approximately $150 monthly. Your new solar system would produce enough electric to run the meter backwards, thus no electric bill payment plus credits to use during the winter.

The $150 average area electric bill is out the window. Ours averaged out to $270 for the last 12 months plus we're running a pellet stove and propane fireplace. I have one of the bigger houses in the neighborhood since putting the addition on 15 years ago. 3,500 sqft including the garage which is kept comfortable winter & summer. Keep in mind that this past year was a bit unusual. So much gloom and overcast, (rain or not), during the spring, summer and now fall. Plus, last winter had its snaps, but in all I don't think was too cold entirely.

Additionally, I've been trying to read up on solar panels. Seems like they lose 1% of their productivity every year, which is 25% at the end of the lease. I haven't factored in any local/state/federal credits because I don't know what they might be. However, it appears that some substantial ones expired in 2016.

Bottom line is right now I'm not too excited about this. A few assumptions of producing more power that I'm using with incorrect data. I'm not putting out, (I know more than), $30,000 for panels that I'm sure it'll take more than half of that time to recoup the initial investment. (BTW: I'm 54YO now.) Lastly, I have less than 2 years until our mortgage is paid off. I'm not going to lock myself into another 25 years.

We'll see what he has to say next Wednesday. Still researching on this end. I will definitely get other quotes before [if] deciding to move forward on this. Anxiously awaiting any thoughts.

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Old Lar
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Report this Post11-01-2018 10:14 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Old LarSend a Private Message to Old LarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I had a set of solar panels installed in September. I have them on the east, west and south side of my roof. The only ones you can see from the street are the four panels on the west side. I don't find them "ugly" by any means. They cost $23K with a 30 % tax credit so that will knock off about $7K off of my tax bill. These panels make 390 KW. My first full month my electric bill was $29 including $4.72 in taxes. My average bill for September is $130. Of course living in the sunshine state, I do get a lot of sun.

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Report this Post11-01-2018 10:31 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BlacktreeClick Here to visit Blacktree's HomePageClick Here to Email BlacktreeSend a Private Message to BlacktreeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

You also have to consider the utility company's policies regarding solar power. They may "devalue" the power you put back into the grid, so your payback is significantly reduced. You could also keep the solar power off the grid, but then you'd need a battery bank and a way to isolate the solar power from the grid power.

Long story short, don't just talk to the vendor. Talk to the utility company too. The vendor is just there to make a sale.

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rogergarrison
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Report this Post11-02-2018 10:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for rogergarrisonClick Here to Email rogergarrisonSend a Private Message to rogergarrisonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Cant speak much about home panels. I do have 4 panels on one of the RVs roofs. Its the one I take to races where there are no hookups for anything. It runs my tvs, satellite, etc during the day and keeps the batteries charged for nite use. They beat having to run the generator all day. My Ohio house/shop electric bill is usually only about $60 a month average during a year, so its not worth worrying about. I dont particularly like AC so seldom use it . I like it hot. The house on the island dont need heat or AC as its 75*-85* 365 days a year...perfect to me. Electric there for fridge and tv is $5-$10 a month.

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Report this Post11-02-2018 12:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for shemdoggSend a Private Message to shemdoggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I built my own system w new old stock panels and a recon fronius inverter from ebay. Its only a 2kw system but its small(8 panels) and I built it for under $2k. City wants me to do crazy work to the house to get my permit so I cant get the credit from pge.Bastards! Going to get a tesla battery for the house and shut off my grid power. I have a small system on my toy hauler too to run the inverter and use the bug zapper at night. What a show lol

mlsolar.com is where I got my panels they sell nos panels and inveters
shem

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Hank is Here
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Report this Post11-02-2018 12:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Hank is HereSend a Private Message to Hank is HereEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

To me the payback isn't there yet, the only way panels make any sense are with large tax credits and other incentives which are declining these days. If you cannot afford to buy the panels outright DO NOT enter into a lease purchase agreement! If you enter into a lease agreement with a third party, and you decide to sell your house this can be large liability. If you have leased panels on a house when you sell it, the buyer not only needs to obtian a loan for the mortgage they also need to obtain separate approval/underwriting to take over the lease on your panels if the buyer is stretching to buy the hosue they may qualify for a mortgage but not qualify to take over the lease for the panels.

Additionally to me the technology needs to improve more. There have been good advances: more efficient panels, micro-inverters, etc. I will consider panels when they are not as ugly, are an integral part of a roofing system (not a bolt on) and have better durability. Additionally if I make the leap to install a solar system I would want to install some type of storage capacity; I feel that with the advent of electric cars there may some type of cost effective DYI storage solution using electric car batteries.

For me the question is when I'll add some type of solar....not if. However for now the when is several years (5+) out to let the hardware mature even further.

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Report this Post11-03-2018 04:21 AM Click Here to See the Profile for theogreClick Here to visit theogre's HomePageSend a Private Message to theogreEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

First mistake was showing anyone your billing from any unity etc.
Many scams use this to rip you off.
You should have told them to F off and even called police.

Many "solar plans" have big problems. If roof doesn't leak right after, doesn't mean cell installer is good and won't leak after a few months. More so after a winter or two in many places.
If you have a roof under warranty that warranty may be voided.
Many "solar companies" will be gone or sold in a few years and getting leak repair and other problems fixed can be hard or impossible.

------------------
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.
(Jurassic Park)


The Ogre's Fiero Cave

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Report this Post11-03-2018 04:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RWDPLZClick Here to visit RWDPLZ's HomePageSend a Private Message to RWDPLZEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Return on Investment may not make sense depending how long you live there, and the panel's ability to consistently generate power at what they typically quote as the best case scenario, as well as how much power you actually use. Talk to your neighbors about how close the initial estimate came to actual cost, and what kind of decreases they have seen on their bills. In some areas and circumstances they're a great investment long-term. If you have to replace panels in the future, the infrastructure is there, the permits, wiring, inverters, and installation are the majority of the cost, not the panels themselves. Also consider the potential future increases in the size of the power bill.

Solar generated power combined with a battery backup system that the house can run on at night or during a power outage are also potential pluses if you experience them often.

 
quote
Originally posted by shemdogg:Going to get a tesla battery for the house and shut off my grid power.


This may or may not be allowed depending where you live, the city likely requires you to have service (even if you're not using it), so the bill may be largely reduced, but you'll still have one to pay every month. Power companies have been crapping their pants over this technology finally becoming viable and going mainstream, and getting extremely anti-consumer laws passed in their favor. Yes PGE are bastards.

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82-T/A [At Work]
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Report this Post11-03-2018 07:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 82-T/A [At Work]Send a Private Message to 82-T/A [At Work]Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by FieroTony:

I don't know much about home solar panels nor know anyone with them. So...………...I'm reaching out here to anyone with them or knowledge thereof.

There's a solar company working on a few houses at the other side of the neighborhood. A rep from the company came around a couple of days ago, to briefly go over some options/systems. Basically, general information. He looked over our electric bills, took some info and is coming back next Wednesday to go over the specifics including costs. Personally, right at this moment I'm not too impressed.

First and foremost, the panels have to be placed where the we get most of the sunshine, understandably. However, that means placing those ugly monstrous panels right on the front of the house. Then he went over some general pricing based on the local area houses as a model. Approximately $30,000 to buy or a 25+ year lease based off of $150 month that goes up every year. Average area electric bill was approximately $150 monthly. Your new solar system would produce enough electric to run the meter backwards, thus no electric bill payment plus credits to use during the winter.

The $150 average area electric bill is out the window. Ours averaged out to $270 for the last 12 months plus we're running a pellet stove and propane fireplace. I have one of the bigger houses in the neighborhood since putting the addition on 15 years ago. 3,500 sqft including the garage which is kept comfortable winter & summer. Keep in mind that this past year was a bit unusual. So much gloom and overcast, (rain or not), during the spring, summer and now fall. Plus, last winter had its snaps, but in all I don't think was too cold entirely.

Additionally, I've been trying to read up on solar panels. Seems like they lose 1% of their productivity every year, which is 25% at the end of the lease. I haven't factored in any local/state/federal credits because I don't know what they might be. However, it appears that some substantial ones expired in 2016.

Bottom line is right now I'm not too excited about this. A few assumptions of producing more power that I'm using with incorrect data. I'm not putting out, (I know more than), $30,000 for panels that I'm sure it'll take more than half of that time to recoup the initial investment. (BTW: I'm 54YO now.) Lastly, I have less than 2 years until our mortgage is paid off. I'm not going to lock myself into another 25 years.

We'll see what he has to say next Wednesday. Still researching on this end. I will definitely get other quotes before [if] deciding to move forward on this. Anxiously awaiting any thoughts.



It really depends on your situation on whether or not solar panels are "worth it."

This includes several factors:
1 - How long do you intend to live in the house?
2 - Where is your home located, and what orientation?
3 - What incentives does your state offer?
4 - What laws exist for putting power back into the grid?
5 - What kind of system do you want to get?

All of those things can have an effect on the Return on Investment.


Generally speaking, you need anywhere from 10-15 years to get a FULL return on investment. Now, this is what it was 6 years ago when I actually considered doing it. If you live in Florida, for example... that's a good place to get solar panels. Sunny almost all the time, and Florida has laws that allow you to feed power BACK INTO the power grid. This is an excellent option for Floridians because you can get a more simple system that doesn't require batteries, and it will have a direct effect on your power bill... to some extent, like in the winter, actually having a NEGATIVE power bill... meaning they pay you (or give you credits). And most time during the year, you'd be paying ~$30 for a monthly power bill with a decent system.


But, a lot of that goes out the window if you have it installed by financing it and paying interest, etc...


Good news is, prices continue to drop, and the technology continues to improve making them more and more efficient. I'm a big fan of solar panels, but as I move every 3 years now, it just doesn't make sense to me, even if I want it.

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FieroTony
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Report this Post11-14-2018 04:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroTonyClick Here to Email FieroTonySend a Private Message to FieroTonyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Well...…...that was fun, NOT!!

The solar company came out, [Friday], and went over some details, without the actual contract in hand. We were sent that this past Monday.

We were told that the payments would be $197 a month with auto-debt. Payments would increase yearly. Then we received a hard copy of the contract. WOW. A couple hundred dollars shy of $90,000.00 on the 25 year lease. That's more than the original mortgage when we first moved there. Currently our electric bills average out to $270 monthly. That's $81,000.00 in 25 years. Understand that the electric bills will only go up. However, I also can’t help thinking that the solar technology will become more efficient and less costly in years to come. Who knows, there may be other forms of alternative energy in the future as well. Not a gamble that I'm willing to take.

Other than the price, they want to put roughly 1,000 sqft of solar panels right on the front of the house. I think that was just about as much a turn off as the price and 25 year lease.



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Report this Post11-14-2018 04:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Hank is HereSend a Private Message to Hank is HereEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

But, but, but, its for the children, will save the whales, and empty your bank account.

look at the companies reviews on Yelp!

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Report this Post11-14-2018 05:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RWDPLZClick Here to visit RWDPLZ's HomePageSend a Private Message to RWDPLZEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

In this case, it makes no sense, at least through that company.

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Report this Post11-14-2018 07:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 82-T/A [At Work]Send a Private Message to 82-T/A [At Work]Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by FieroTony:

Well...…...that was fun, NOT!!

The solar company came out, [Friday], and went over some details, without the actual contract in hand. We were sent that this past Monday.

We were told that the payments would be $197 a month with auto-debt. Payments would increase yearly. Then we received a hard copy of the contract. WOW. A couple hundred dollars shy of $90,000.00 on the 25 year lease. That's more than the original mortgage when we first moved there. Currently our electric bills average out to $270 monthly. That's $81,000.00 in 25 years. Understand that the electric bills will only go up. However, I also can’t help thinking that the solar technology will become more efficient and less costly in years to come. Who knows, there may be other forms of alternative energy in the future as well. Not a gamble that I'm willing to take.

Other than the price, they want to put roughly 1,000 sqft of solar panels right on the front of the house. I think that was just about as much a turn off as the price and 25 year lease.




That's what I was saying... the cost usually exceeds the benefit of actually having them.


So, the first question I always ask is... "What is it that you're hoping to accomplish?"


If the goal is to reduce your power bill... you can do this simply by reducing your energy consumption.

There are a TON of things you can do to improve that, all of which are significantly cheaper than getting solar panels, and won't put a "second mortgage / lien" on your home:

1 - Insulation: One of the cheapest ways, blow in some more insulation in your attic.
2 - Seal up your home: Walk around with a caulking gun and seal up all the cracks and holes anywhere and everywhere around your home. Replace window and door seals where they're damaged.
3 - Replace your HVAC system if it's old and worn out. This is where most of the cost goes due to energy inefficiency. A good 5 ton will run you about $6 grand, and you'll save money immediately.
4 - Replace your water heater. If your water heater is an old one, they have computer controlled ones that "remember" your usage and will help save you money. You can also buy a $50 thermal blanket for your water heater too.
5 - Replace all your lightbulbs with LEDs.

If you want more... you can replace all your windows with energy efficient windows, even the doors... make them foam core insulted or double-pane windows on the doors.


If anything else, this will also significantly reduce the cost of the solar panels, because... you now need less power, and you won't need as many solar panels on the house.

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Report this Post11-16-2018 03:23 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FriendGregoryClick Here to Email FriendGregorySend a Private Message to FriendGregoryEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by shemdogg: City wants me to do crazy work to the house to get my permit so I cant get the credit from pge.
shem

Do you remember what they were requiring? Maybe I help you do the work so I can learn for mine.

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Report this Post11-16-2018 06:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RotrexFieroClick Here to visit RotrexFiero's HomePageSend a Private Message to RotrexFieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

My experience with solar power comes from those cheap little sidewalk lights you can purchase just about anywhere.

They never work.

I agree with obvious lack of sunlight (especially here in the north), inefficiency, and they are still considered a novelty.

May wind power would be better?

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Old Lar
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Report this Post11-27-2018 09:14 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Old LarSend a Private Message to Old LarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

My November FPL bill arrived $11.50, last year it was $62.80 and 423 kWhs sent back to the grid.

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Report this Post11-29-2018 10:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for James Bond 007Send a Private Message to James Bond 007Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Install LED lighting, that will help cut your electrical bill, without haveing to buy solar. The roofing company might charge extra, the next time you need to reroof your house

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Report this Post11-29-2018 07:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for shemdoggSend a Private Message to shemdoggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I installed led bulbs, didnt do much. The fridge is the main drain, or your furnace.

Greg- My house is old so they wanted a new main w shutoff, they couldnt see my ground rod so wanted 2 more installed where they could see em, paint my conduits, make different attachment/supports for the conduit on the roof, new metal raceway for incoming 220,change flex from inverter to panel to metal, and a whole buncha other things. Basically they were trying to make me rewire the place and get a permit for that too and threatened to red tag my house. And this trip was supposed to be the sign off because they came out 2 previous times(that they charged me extra for) and both times gave me a few BS things to fix- and said fix that n next times the sign off. I was literally about to murder those 2 inspectors my face got I dunno but I had to leave the room- they took the fu@k off. I came backa few mins later they were gone.

Best way to do it is do it yourself. Theyre super easy to install, they have 5-600 watt panels so you dont need 200 panels on your roof, Plenty of old new panels being sold for cheap and inverters too, stuff that never sold or was refurbed and being sold cheap. You dont have to do it all at once either, kits like outback are able to be added on. So do a small 2k system, when u got more funds, do another 2k system etc.

Build a small setup for something to get familiar w it. I just got some 55w 12v panels for my rv for $10 each to beef up the system. i dont need more than 100w to keep the batteries up but if I want to run the inverter or if its cloudy I got more panels to plug in.

shem

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Report this Post11-29-2018 07:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for blackramsClick Here to Email blackramsSend a Private Message to blackramsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by Old Lar:

My November FPL bill arrived $11.50, last year it was $62.80 and 423 kWhs sent back to the grid.



I'm curious about this. I understand you have lower electric bills but, if you had borrowed the cost of the system combined with the loan interest, what would your outlay of dollars have been per month. I have no idea if you paid that cost up front or not but, most people couldn't do that.

Edited: Your location is noted and appears to be one of the better locations for such a system.

Rams

[This message has been edited by blackrams (edited 11-29-2018).]

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Report this Post11-30-2018 07:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FatsClick Here to Email FatsSend a Private Message to FatsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by blackrams:
I'm curious about this. I understand you have lower electric bills but, if you had borrowed the cost of the system combined with the loan interest, what would your outlay of dollars have been per month. I have no idea if you paid that cost up front or not but, most people couldn't do that.

Edited: Your location is noted and appears to be one of the better locations for such a system.

Rams



^^^^This

There was an output of some kind in order to get the bill lower. If you include the payout (say it was 5 grand) and spread it out like you were paying payments every month, what is your actual cost for electricity?

I'm wanting to do something similar for Mom's house as her bill runs a few hundred a month... For a widow that lives alone and uses one light bulb. I suspect the electric company is hosing her, but there is no way to prove anything as I see it.

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Report this Post11-30-2018 11:00 AM Click Here to See the Profile for James Bond 007Send a Private Message to James Bond 007Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Other devices that drain power are (someone correct me if Im wrong), electric clocks, the sterio and DVD player, TV. Continually draw power, even when off. Its the transformer that continually draws power.

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Report this Post11-30-2018 06:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for shemdoggSend a Private Message to shemdoggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Very true- most devices when "off" are really just in standby and still using most of the power. Transformers always draw power tho not much it is constant. I was anal/cheap before the solar, I have everything plugged into power strips, when im done the power strip turns everything off like a switch.

Buy a kill-a-watt device they are cheap and will tell u exactly whose pulling how much power on or off.


Local solar place has a xantrex 3k inverter for 50 bucks still working, im thinking of getting it. Its almost outta warranty but get it refurbed and I have a very nice inverter I can add onto my current setup or just flip.

shem

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Old Lar
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Report this Post12-01-2018 01:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Old LarSend a Private Message to Old LarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

The solar array on my roof has 21 panels. They cost about as much as a small new car, $23K. They qualify for a 30% tax credit and for me, I have enough in my IRA that I'll cash out the funds and get hit with Fed Tax which I'll use the tax credit to offset the increase in taxes. There are only four panels on the front roof (west) and don't affect the appearance of the house (my opinion). There are a bunch on the south facing roof (which are hard to see from the street) and a bunch on the east roof, the back of the house. It only took a day and a half (or a bit less) for the install which went without a hitch. The installation company contacted FPL (Florida Power and Light) for connection to the grid and they came out and put in a new meter.


Are they worth the expense? As others have said the pay back isn't immediately apparent, but who knows, some future governor, like Moonbeam, may get in office and demand that house all have solar arrays "for the good of the population".

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