In this study, electroluminescence as a spatial characterisation technique is used to characterise a 6.9% efficient dye-sensitised solar cell. The obtained image is compared with a light beam-induced current scan image and a transmittance image. Results reveal the presence of inhomogeneities including those resulting from the topography of the cell and from defects, for example, presence of iodine crystals in the electrolyte, localised absence of dye in the active layer and poor adhesion of the active layer to the electrodes. The ability to identify such inhomogeneities within a relatively short acquisition time gives electroluminescence an advantage over the light beam-induced current technique. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.