We analyze the statistical properties of observed sunspot numbers. Near the Maunder minimum, the dynamics of successive sunspot maxima is low-dimensional and has properties similar to the intermittent logistic map. The long-term statistics is well described by an intermittent random injection model with Poissonian injection statistics. Three different characteristic numbers are extracted from the solar signal: The distance from the critical point of tangent bifurcation, the injection probability into the laminar phase, and the relaxation time of correlations. It is suggested to interpret the grand minima of the solar cycle as the laminar phase of the intermittent solar dynamo.