Crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells have been dominating the photovoltaic (PV) market for decades, and c-Si based photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells are regarded as one of the most promising routes for water splitting and renewable production of hydrogen. In this work, we demonstrate a nanoscale tantalum oxide (TaOx, ∼6 nm) as an electron-selective heterocontact, simultaneously providing high-quality passivation to the silicon surface and effective transport of electrons to either an external circuit or a water-splitting catalyst. The PV application of TaOx is demonstrated by a proof-of-concept device having a conversion efficiency of 19.1%. In addition, the PEC application is demonstrated by a photon-to-current efficiency (with additional applied bias) of 7.7%. These results represent a 2% and 3.8% absolute enhancement over control devices without a TaOx interlayer, respectively. The methods presented in this Letter are not limited to c-Si based devices and can be viewed as a more general approach to the interface engineering of optoelectronic and photoelectrochemical applications.