The fate of a 550 MW solar deal between Pacific Gas & Electric and photovoltaic developer OptiSolar hinges on the incoming President Barack Obama administration\u2019s promise of an economic stimulus package aimed at renewable energy. \u201cWe are hopeful Washington\u2019s new attitude will help provide support for projects like these,\u201d said Alan Bernheimer, OptiSolar spokesperson. The recession, and resulting tightening of access to capital, makes project financing very challenging for OptiSolar. These difficulties apply to other renewable energy companies as well. The California-based OptiSolar sacked nearly half of its workforce recently, including 105 employees in Sacramento and 185 in Hayward. \u201cIt is not our intention to do further layoffs. But the financial market disruption we are experiencing is virtually unprecedented and it is difficult to predict the future,\u201d Bernheimer stated. PG&E and a subsidiary of Optisolar signed an agreement for 550 MW of thin film solar power for a 20-year period in August 2007, a time when solar companies were booming. The thin film PV project, which was part of PG&E\u2019s renewable portfolio solicitation, is slated for the Carrizo Plains in San Luis Obispo. The solar panels are supposed to begin coming on line in 2011 and be fully operational by 2013. The price of the electricity contracted between PG&E and OptiSolar was stamped confidential by regulators. Although in this tough market utilities are some of the few companies that can raise capital, project financing rests solely on OptiSolar\u2019s shoulders. The utility is only required to buy the solar project\u2019s output. The state expects the alternative power contracts to be honored and allows utilities to count that expected energy towards their 20 percent renewable portfolio requirement. \u201cWe remain confident with our OptiSolar contract,\u201d said Jennifer Zerwer, PG&E spokesperson. She said no contingencies were in place in the event the project was unable to line up financing next year, saying it was \u201ctoo early to speculate.\u201d OptiSolar\u2019s deal with PG&E, known as Topaz and slated for the Carrizo Plains, currently awaits county approval. \u201cPower project financing is still a good way off,\u201d Bernheimer noted.