A theoretical model is performed to study the viability of the AlGaAs/GaAs superlattice solar cell (SLSC). Using the Transfer Matrix Method, the conditions for resonant tunneling are established for a particular SL geometry with variably spaced quantum wells. The effective density of states and the absorption coefficient are calculated to determinate the J–V characteristic. Radiative, non-radiative, and interface recombination were evaluated from a modeled SLSC, and their values were compared with a multiple quantum well solar cell of the same aluminum composition. A discussion about the conditions, where SLSC performance overcomes that of a multiple quantum well solar cell, is addressed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.