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Amorphous silicon solar cells, in which the absorbing layer is deposited using the hot-wire chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technique, have potential advantages over solar cells made with the standard plasma enhanced CVD technique. Although it is possible to make high-quality solar cells, many cells occasionally show shunting behavior and better control over the variation in cell performance must be obtained. In this letter, we prove that this behavior is directly correlated with the filament age, and we present different methods for avoiding shunted cells and for improving the reproducibility of cell performance. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.