Efficiency of a solar cell is directly correlated with the performance of its transparent conducting electrodes (TCEs) which dictates its two core processes, viz., absorption and collection efficiencies. Emerging designs of a TCE involve active networks of carbon nanotubes, silver nanowires and various template-based techniques providing diverse structures; here, voids are transparent for optical transmittance while the conducting network acts as a charge collector. However, it is still not well understood as to which kind of network structure leads to an optimum solar cell performance; therefore, mostly an arbitrary network is chosen as a solar cell electrode. Herein, we propose a new generic approach for understanding the role of TCEs in determining the solar cell efficiency based on analysis of shadowing and recombination losses. A random network of wires encloses void regions of different sizes and shapes which permit light transmission; two terms, void fraction and equivalent radius, are defined to represent the TCE transmittance and wire spacings, respectively. The approach has been applied to various literature examples and their solar cell performance has been compared. To obtain high-efficiency solar cells, optimum density of the wires and their aspect ratio as well as active layer thickness are calculated. Our findings show that a TCE well suitable for one solar cell may not be suitable for another. For high diffusion length based solar cells, the void fraction of the network should be low while for low diffusion length based solar cells, the equivalent radius should be lower. The network with less wire spacing compared to the diffusion length behaves similar to continuous film based TCEs (such as indium tin oxide). The present work will be useful for architectural as well as material engineering of transparent electrodes for improvisation of solar cell performance.