Efficient photothermal conversion requires surfaces of high solar absorptance and low thermal emittance. This can be accomplished by the tandem action of a good infrared reflector overlaid by a film of sufficient solar absorptance that is transparent in the infrared. Crystalline silicon is a suitable candidate for the absorber layer. Its indirect band gap, however, results in a shallow absorption edge that extends to far into the visible. In contrast, the absorption edge of amorphous silicon is steeper and located farther into the infrared, resulting in a larger solar absorptance. We report on the fabrication of amorphous silicon absorbers by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Their optical and structural properties are determined as a function of the deposition temperature. We describe the effects of a progressive crystallization during anneal above 650 °C and report the performance of converter stacks that are identical "twins" except for the use of a polycrystalline silicon absorber in one and an amorphous absorber in the other.