We examine damage-free transparent-electrode deposition to fabricate high-efficiency amorphous silicon/crystalline silicon heterojunction solar cells. Such solar cells usually feature sputtered transparent electrodes, the deposition of which may damage the layers underneath. Using atomic layer deposition, we insert thin protective films between the amorphous silicon layers and sputtered contacts and investigate their effect on device operation. We find that a 20-nm-thick protective layer suffices to preserve, unchanged, the amorphous silicon layers beneath. Insertion of such protective atomic-layer-deposited layers yields slightly higher internal voltages at low carrier injection levels. However, we identify the presence of a silicon oxide layer, formed during processing, between the amorphous silicon and the atomic-layer-deposited transparent electrode that acts as a barrier, impeding hole and electron collection.