We study numerically the photon input efficiency of silicon solar cells due to gold plasmonic nanoparticles deposited on the cells. At low densities, when collective effects in light scattering by the nanoparticle ensemble are negligible, the absorption dependence increases linearly for a significant range of the solar spectrum. Collective effects lead to the input efficiency saturates, reaches its maximum and then decreases with nanoparticle density. The maximal input efficiency depends on the photon wavelength, nanoparticle shape and size, their distance to the cell, and the cell thickness, and can reach ~ 95% in thick solar cells. Finally, we show that aluminum nanoparticles improve the input efficiency in comparison with gold nanoparticles.