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We propose the use of n-doped silicon oxide as alternative n-layer in thin film Si p-i-n solar cells. By varying input gas ratios, films with a wide range of optical and electrical properties are obtained. Applying these layers in solar cells, good electrical and optical properties are demonstrated. A relative efficiency increase up to 13.6% has been observed on the cells adopting a simple Ag back contact. A similar spectral response as with the cell with standard n-layer plus ZnO/Ag back contact is obtained. The deposition of a buffer layer at the back contact can therefore be avoided.