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The minority carrier lifetimes of a variety of polycrystalline silicon solar cells are estimated from temperature-dependent quantum efficiency data. In most cases the lifetimes have Arrhenius temperature dependences with activation energies of 0.17–0.21 eV near room temperature. There is also a rough inverse relationship between lifetime and the base dopant concentration. Judging by this inverse law, the activation energies of the lifetimes, and the absence of plateau behavior in the lifetimes of the higher doped cells at low temperatures, it is inferred that the dominant recombination pathway involves the electronic transition between shallow states which are 0.05–0.07 eV below the conduction band and 0.06–0.09 eV above the valence band, respectively, consistent with the shallow bands in silicon dislocations. The modeled recombination behavior implies that deep levels do not significantly affect the lifetimes for most of the cells at and below room temperature.