Silicon is the dominant semiconductor material for all existing photovoltaic and electronic systems. The high natural abundance of silicon, together with the excellent reliability and good performance of devices made with it suggest its continued use, on massive scales, for the foreseeable future. As a result, although there is significant promise for organics, hybrid organic/inorganics and other new materials for electronics and photovoltaics, many opportunities continue to exist for research into unconventional means for exploiting silicon. This paper describes some approaches that implement monocrystalline silicon in the form of thin ribbons, platelets and related structures to achieve devices with performance equal to wafer scale technologies, but with unusual features: mechanical flexibility/stretchability; large area coverage; partial transparency; lightweight construction, and others. The processes for creating and manipulating such structures, together with theoretical and experimental investigations of the electrical, mechanical and optical characteristics of the resulting systems will be discussed.