For 2009, the Portuguese government launched a special incentive programme to promote the installation of solar thermal panels on homes and buildings. The incentive programme applies to the purchase of a solar thermal "kit", comprising panels and ancillary equipment, installation, yearly maintece for six years, and a six year guarantee. The kit is acquired at a competitive cost, firstly due to large-scale negotiations between the government and manufacturers. The government also provides an immediate rebate of EUR 1641.70 for the purchase of a solar thermal kit, and four banks (Caixa Geral de Depositos, BES, Millenium bcp and BPI) have special preferential rate ficing programmes for those wishing to take a credit to cover the remaining cost of the solar thermal system. In addition, the incentive scheme can be combined with existing tax credit provisions for the installation of such systems. Individuals can apply for the scheme up till 31 December 2009 or until the exhaustion of state funds provided for the scheme (EUR 100 million).