Single-junction microcrystalline silicon (mu c-Si:H) solar cells of selected i-layer crystalline volume fractions were light soaked (AM1.5, 1000 h at 50 degrees C) and subsequently annealed at increasing temperatures. The variations of subbandgap absorption during light soaking and during thermal annealing were monitored by Fourier transform photocurrent spectroscopy. The kinetics were shown to follow stretched exponential functions over long times such as 1000 h. The effective time constants appearing in the stretched exponential function decrease with decreasing crystalline volume fraction as well with increasing annealing temperature. Their Arrhenius-like dependence on temperature is characterized by a unique value of the activation energy. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the configuration of the solar cells (p-i-n or n-i-p) does not influence the degradation kinetics, as long as the average crystallinity of the intrinsic layer is of comparable value. (C) 2008 American Institute of Physics.