Controlling the concentration of charge carriers near the surface is essential for solar cells. It permits to form regions with selective conductivity for either electrons or holes and it also helps to reduce the rate at which they recombine. Chemical passivation of the surfaces is equally important, and it can be combined with population control to implement carrier-selective, passivating contacts for solar cells. This paper discusses different approaches to suppress surface recombination and to manipulate the concentration of carriers by means of doping, work function and charge. It also describes some of the many surface-passivating contacts that are being developed for silicon solar cells, restricted to experiments performed by the authors.