This disclosure relates in general to the field of solar cells, and solar cell manufacturing. Particularly, the disclosure relates to enhanced three-dimensional thin-film or crystalline-film solar cells (3-D TFSCs) and methods of manufacturing the same. Even more specifically, this disclosure relates to structural designs and methods of manufacturing aesthetically appealing, three-dimensional partially-transparent (see-through) TFSCs with relatively high conversion efficiencies and substantially uniform light transmissivities. This disclosure is applicable to building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) applications including power-generating solar glass as well as other solar photovoltaic power modules.
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A method for making a three-dimensional thin film solar cell, comprising: patterning a reusable crystalline silicon template with a periodic array of hexagonal pyramidal cavities according to a wet chemical etching process, said reusable crystalline silicon template having dimensions of approximately 200×200 millimetres; chemically cleaning said reusable crystalline silicon template; forming a sacrificial porous silicon release layer comprising at least two different porosity values on a surface of said reusable crystalline silicon template, said porous silicon release layer comprising: a top layer having a porosity in the range of 20% to 40%; and a bottom layer having a porosity in the range of 40% to 80%; depositing a doped crystalline silicon film onto said sacrificial porous silicon release layer, said doped silicon film being substantially conformal to said reusable crystalline silicon template and having a thickness in the range of 2 to 50 microns; etching said sacrificial porous silicon release layer; detaching and removing said doped silicon film from said reusable crystalline silicon template; and removing a plurality of tips from said doped silicon film by: depositing a hard masking thin layer having a thickness in the range of 0.05 to 0.5 microns on said doped silicon film; patterning said hard masking thin layer according to a self-aligned selective chemical etching process, thereby creating exposed crystalline silicon regions not covered and protected by said hard masking layer; and performing a selective silicon etching process to selectively etch away said regions not covered by said hard masking layer, thereby creating an array of see-through holes in said doped silicon film.