In this study, we investigated the effect of electrolyte composition, photoanode thickness, and the additions of GuSCN (guanidinium thiocyanate), NMB (N-methylbenimidazole), and SiO2 on the photovoltaic performance of DSSCs (dye sensitized solar cells). A bifacial DSSC is realized and irradiated from front and rear sides. The devices give maximum photovoltaic efficiencies for 70% PMII (1-propyl-3-methyl-imidazolium iodide)/30% (EMIB(CN)(4)) (1-ethyl-3-methyl-imidazolium tetracyanoborate) electrolyte composition and 10 mu m thick photoanode coating which is considered to be the ideal coating thickness for the diffusion length of electrolyte and dye absorption. A significant increase in the photocurrent for DSSCs with optimum molarity of 0.1 M GuSCN was observed due to decreased recombination which is believed to be surface passivation effect at photoanode electrolyte interface suppressing recombination rate. Moreover, optimum NMB molarity was found to be 0.4 for maximum efficiency. Addition of SiO2 to the electrolyte both as an overlayer and dispersed particles enhanced rear side illuminated cells where dispersed particles are found to be more efficient for the front side illuminated cells due to additional electron transport properties. Best rear side illuminated cell efficiency was 3.2% compared to front side illuminated cell efficiency of 4.2% which is a promising result for future rear side dye sensitized solar cell applications where front side illumination is not possible like tandem structures and for cells working from both front and rear side illuminations. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.