Results are presented for direct solar pumping of a Nd:YAG rod laser. Stable CW output of more than 60 watts was obtained with slope efficiencies exceeding 2%. Results are consistent with predictions based on a simple solar laser model we have developed. Using this model, performance projections and design concepts for higher power and higher efficiency solar-pumped solid state lasers are presented. It is shown that existing laser materials with broadband absorption characteristics (e.g., alexandrite and Nd:Cr:GSGG) can have better than 10% overall conversion efficiencies when solar pumped. The utility of solar lasers for various laser applications in space is briefly discussed.