Polycrystalline silicon films of 10 μm thickness are formed on glass in a single-step continuous wave diode laser crystallisation process, creating large crystal grains up to 1 mm wide and 10 mm long. Solar cells are formed on the layers by employing a rear point contacting scheme. Intermediate layers between the glass and the silicon are shown to heavily influence the cell characteristics. A stack of silicon oxide/silicon nitride/silicon oxide has produced the best cell efficiency so far of 8.4 % with open-circuit voltage of 557 mV. With simple optimisation of the contacting scheme, 10 % efficient cells are expected in the near future. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.