Copper zinc tin sulfide (Cu2ZnSnS4, CZTS) consists of abundant and cheap elements and is therefore a very promising alternative to semiconductors based on Ga or In as solar absorber material. In addition it displays very beneficial properties like a high optical absorption coefficient and an ideal band gap for photovoltaic applications. In this contribution we present the preparation of CZTS thin films from metal salts (copper(I) iodide, zinc(II) acetate and tin(II) chloride) and thioacetamide as sulfur source by a solution based precursor method. CZTS solar cells based on these films as absorber layer with a simple ITO/CZTS/CdS/Al assembly are fabricated and characterized. Efficiencies up to 0.5% were achieved demonstrating the potential of this precursor method for the preparation of CZTS thin films for photovoltaic applications.