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A comprehensive investigation reveals three useful approximations to the optical behavior of isotextured silicon solar cells. First, we confirm experimentally that front-surface reflectance is accurately modeled with “spherical cap” geometry. Second, we find that light reflected from the surface has a Lambertian distribution. Random upright pyramid texturing results in a less favorable distribution so that, when encapsulated, photogeneration in an isotextured cell approaches 99% of that achieved in an equivalent pyramidally textured device. Third, we perform ray tracing simulations to determine the 1-D photogeneration profile beneath isotexture. On their first pass, rays traverse the substrate at angle θ1 with respect to the macroscopic normal such that they are distributed according to cos(3 θ1/2). This approximation to the ray trajectory establishes, for isotexture, a useful simulation tool that has been available for application to pyramidally textured devices for two decades. This paper is followed by a contribution that investigates recombination at isotextured surfaces, coupling results with optical analyses to model the performance of isotextured solar cells.