The n-type GaN layers were grown by plasma-assisted MBE and either intentionally doped with Si or unintentionally doped. The optical characteristics of a donor level in Si-doped, GaN were studied in terms of photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy as a function of electron concentration. Temperature dependent PL measurements allowed us to estimate the activation energy of a Si-related donor from temperature-induced decay of PL intensity. PL peak positions, full width at half maximum of PL and activation energies are found to be proportional to the cube root of carrier density. The involvement of donor levels is supported by the temperature-dependent electron concentration measurements. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.