Abstract Study on dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) with extracts of Canna indica L., Salvia splendens, Solanum nigrum L. as sensitizers is firstly reported in this paper. DSSCs were assembled by using natural dyes extracted from C. indica L., S. splendens, cowberry and S. nigrum L. as sensitizers. The energy conversion efficiency of the cells sensitized with dyes of C. indica L., S. splendens, cowberry and S. nigrum L. was 0.29%, 0.26%, 0.13% and 0.31%, respectively. A novel technique was taken to fabricate TiO 2 electrode films by electrophoresis. We present FTIR and UV–vis spectroscopy studies of structures and light absorption of these four kinds of natural dyes. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) was used to analyze the interface resistance of cells. The result indicated that high resistance existed in the interfaces of cell with cowberry extract as sensitizer.