We present the latest developments in the characterization of thin-film solar cells based on the combination of elemental mapping from fluorescence measurements using synchrotron x-rays, with beam induced current from electron and x-ray beams. This is a powerful method to directly correlate compositional variations with charge collection efficiency. We compare different approaches for mapping solar cells both in cross-section and in plan view on CIGS and CdTe solar cells. Based on examples from our latest research, we discuss the experimental approaches and highlight the advantages and limitations of each technique. Finally, we present an outlook to experiments that will allow x-ray based characterization to enter new fields of research that were not accessible before.