A considerable cost reduction could be achieved in photovoltaics if efficient solar cells could be made from thin polycrystalline-silicon (pc-Si) layers. Aluminum-induced crystallization (AIC) of amorphous silicon followed by epitaxial thickening is an effective way to obtain large-grained pc-Si layers with excellent properties for solar cells. To obtain efficient solar cells, the electronic quality of the pc-Si material obtained by AIC has to be optimized and the cell design has to be adapted to the material. In this paper, we report on pc-Si solar cells made by AIC in combination with thermal CVD on ceramic alumina substrates. We made pc-Si solar cells on alumina substrates that showed Voc values up to 533 mV and efficiencies up to 5.9%. This is the highest efficiency ever achieved with pc-Si solar cells on ceramic substrates where no (re)melting of silicon was used. We demonstrate that the quality of the pc-Si material can be improved drastically by reducing the substrate roughness using spin-on oxides. We further show that a-Si/c-Si heterojunctions lead to much higher Voc values than diffused homojunctions. A cell concept that incorporates spin-on oxides and heterojunction emitters is therefore best suited to obtain efficient pc-Si solar cells on alumina substrates.