A method for fabricating a solar cell is described. The method includes first providing a substrate having a dielectric layer disposed thereon. A pin-hole-free masking layer is then formed above the dielectric layer. Finally, without the use of a mask, the pin-hole-free masking layer is patterned to form a patterned pin-hole-free masking layer.
 This invention was made with Government support under ZAX-4-33628-05 awarded by the United States Department of Energy under the photovoltaic (PV) Manufacturing Research and Development (R&D) Program, which is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The Government has certain rights in the invention.