We study sensitization of the 4I13/2 – 4I15/2 Er3+ luminescence at 1.54 μm in silicon-rich silicon oxide (SRSO) in the whole range of blue-green pump wavelengths. We show that, in general, defects due to excess Si in silica act as luminescence sensitizers. They cause a wide excitation band with a long wave length limit of 600 nm. For monochromatic excitation the maximum luminescence yield is still smaller than for resonant excitation within the 4f shell of Er without additional Si. The large enhancement of the excitation cross section for electrical excitation reported in the literature is plausible, however, as the wide excitation band makes good use of the wide energy distribution of hot carriers. We suggest that the dominant factors, which limit the excitation efficiency of Er3+, are distance dependence of the transfer rate and little spectral overlap of the interacting states.