The performance of passivated emitter and rear (PERC) solar cells made of p-type Si wafers is often limited by recombination in the phosphorus-doped emitter. To overcome this limitation, a realistic PERC solar cell is simulated, whereby the conventional phosphorus-doped emitter is replaced by a thin, crystalline gallium phosphide (GaP) layer. The resulting GaP/Si PERC cell is compared to Si PERC cells, which have (i) a standard POCl3diffused emitter, (ii) a solid-state diffused emitter, or (iii) a high efficiency ion-implanted emitter. The maximum efficiencies for these realistic PERC cells are between 20.5% and 21.2% for the phosphorus-doped emitters (i)-(iii), and up to 21.6% for the GaP emitter. The major advantage of this GaP hetero-emitter is a significantly reduced recombination loss, resulting in a higher Voc. This is so because the high valence band offset between GaP and Si acts as a nearly ideal minority carrier blocker. This effect is comparable to amorphous Si. However, the GaP layer can be contacted with metal fingers like crystalline Si, so no conductive oxide is necessary. Compared to the conventional PERC structure, the GaP/Si PERC cell requires a lower Si base doping density, which reduces the impact of the boron-oxygen complexes. Despite the lower base doping, fewer rear local contacts are necessary. This is so because the GaP emitter shows reduced recombination, leading to a higher minority electron density in the base and, in turn, to a higher base conductivity.