We describe a framework for efficiently coupling the power output of a series-connected string of single-band-gap solar cells to an electrochemical process that produces storable fuels. We identify the fundamental efficiency limitations that arise from using solar cells with a single band gap, an arrangement that describes the use of currently economic solar cell technologies such as Si or CdTe. Steady-state equivalent circuit analysis permits modeling of practical systems. For the water-splitting reaction, modeling defines parameters that enable a solar-to-fuels efficiency exceeding 18% using laboratory GaAs cells and 16% using all earth-abundant components, including commercial Si solar cells and Co- or Ni-based oxygen evolving catalysts. Circuit analysis also provides a predictive tool: given the performance of the separate photovoltaic and electrochemical systems, the behavior of the coupled photovoltaic-electrochemical system can be anticipated. This predictive utility is demonstrated in the case of water oxidation at the surface of a Si solar cell, using a Co-borate catalyst.