In recent years it has become common practice to texture many of the layered surfaces making up photovoltaic cells in order to increase light absorption and efficiency. Profilometry has been used to characterize the texture, but this is not satisfactory for in-line production systems which move surfaces too fast for that measurement. Scatterometry has been used successfully to measure roughness for many years. Its advantages include low cost, non-contact measurement and insensitivity to vibration; however, it also has some limitations. This paper presents scatter measurements made on a number of photovoltaic samples using two different scatterometers. It becomes clear that in many cases the surface roughness exceeds the optical smoothness limit (required to calculate surface statistics from scatter), but it is also clear that scatter measurement is a fast, sensitive indicator of texture and can be used to monitor whether design specifications are being met. A third key point is that there is a lot of surface dependent information available in the angular variations of the measured scatter. When the surface is inspected by integrating the scatter signal (often called a "Haze" measurement) this information is lost.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.