Reactors driven by highly concentrated sunlight can create conditions well suited to the synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials. We report the experimental realization of a broad range of closed-cage (fullerene-like) nanostructures, nanotubes and/or nanowires for MoS2, SiO2 and Si, achieved via solar ablation. The solar technique generates the strong temperature and radiative gradients - in addition to the extensive high-temperature annealing environment - conducive to producing such nanostructures. The identity of the nanostructures was established with TEM, HRTEM and EDS. The fullerene-like and nanotube MoS2 configurations achieved fundamentally minimum sizes predicted by molecular structural theory. Furthermore, our experiments represent the first time SiO2 nanofibers and nanospheres have been produced purely from quartz. The solar route is far less energy intensive than laser ablation and other high-temperature chemical reactors, simpler and less costly.