In this work, both planar and textured, industrial scale (156 mm × 156 mm) single-crystalline silicon (Si) solar cells have been fabricated using zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods as antireflection coating (ARC). ZnO nanorods were grown in a few minutes via hydrothermal method within a commercially available microwave oven. Relative improvement in excess of 65% in the reflectivity was observed for both planar and textured Si surfaces. Through ZnO nanorods, effective lifetime (τeff) measurements were presented to investigate the surface passivation property of such an ARC layer. ZnO nanorods increased the τeff from 9 to 71 μs at a carrier injection level of 1015 cm−3. Increased carrier lifetime revealed the passivation effect of the ZnO nanorods in addition to their ARC property. 33% and 16% enhancement in the photovoltaic conversion efficiency was obtained in planar and textured single-crystalline solar cells, respectively. Our results reveal the potential of ZnO nanorods as ARC that can be deposited through simple solution-based methods and the method investigated herein can be simply adapted to industrial scale fabrication.