Novel methods of GaAs surface passivation are investigated. Passivation is acheived by simple chemical treatments using aqueous solutions of Na2S, KOH, RuCl3, and K2Se. GaAs pn homojunction solar cells are used to evaluate the effectiveness of these passivation techniques. A significant reduction in minority‐carrier surface recombination velocity is demonstrated. In the best case, the surface recombination velocity decreased from 5×106 cm/s (untreated surface) to 103 cm/s. In addition, we observe improvements in solar cell photogenerated current, short wavelength spectral response, open‐circuit voltage, and junction ‘‘dark’’ current.