Pin-type hydrogenated amorphous silicon solar cells have been fabricated by replacing state of the art silicon based window layer with more transparent transition metal oxide (TMO) materials. Three kinds of TMOs: vanadium oxide, tungsten oxide, and molybdenum oxide (MoOx) were comparatively investigated to reveal the design principles of metal oxide window layers. It was found that MoOx exhibited the best performance due to its higher work function property compared to other materials. In addition, the band alignment between MoOx and amorphous Si controls the series resistance, which was verified through compositional variation of MoOx thin films. The design principles of TMO window layer in amorphous Si solar cells are summarized as follows: A wide optical bandgap larger than 3.0 eV, a high work function larger than 5.2 eV, and a band alignment condition rendering efficient hole collection from amorphous Si absorber layer.