Zinc oxide (ZnO) is now often used as a transparent conductive oxide for contacts in thin-film silicon solar cells. This paper presents a study of ZnO material deposited by the low-pressure chemical vapour deposition technique, in a pressure range below the pressures usually applied for the deposition of this kind of material. A temperature series has been deposited, showing a morphological transition around 150 °C. ZnO samples deposited with temperatures just higher than this transition are constituted of large grains highly oriented along a single crystallographic orientation. These "monocrystals" lead to low resistivity values, showing a clear correlation between the size of the surface grains and the electrical performance of corresponding films. Additionally, these large grains also yield ZnO layers with high transparency and high light-scattering power, specially suitable for solar cell technology based on thin-film silicon. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.