Converted from an enclosed-type space colony, the Solar Ray had a diameter of 6.5 km. Its internal was lined with aluminium (shipped from Zeon's European base), turning it into a mirror surface. Its outer wall was fitted with countless cooling systems, as well as rocket motors for aiming the weapon. The inside of the colony was filled with gases, mostly helium. It was powered by a large number of solar panels, as well as the combined energy output of every non-military colony in Side 3, transmitted to it in the form of microwaves. It had an output of 85 million gigawatts per second. As its reflection mirrors were created for testing, it was only able to be fired once.
On December 22nd, U.C. 0079, under the order of Gihren Zabi, the Principality of Zeon began forcefully evicting the residents of Mahal, the third colony of Side 3. Solar panels from other colonies were sent to Mahal, and countless worker ships and mobile suits began converting the colony into a superweapon capable of annihilating half of the Earth Federation space fleet attacking A Baoa Qu.
Several days before the Battle of A Baoa Qu on December 31st, the Principality government placed an order to limit the use of electricity in order to power the Solar Ray. However, during this time, Sovereign Degwin Sodo Zabi secretly contacted General Revil of the Earth Federation Forces to arrange for peace talks. On December 30th, 20:20, his flagship, the Great Degwin, made contact with the Revil fleet. Considering his father's actions to be a threat to Zeon, Gihren ordered the Solar Ray to be fired at Gel Dorva, one of three preset launch axes.
At 21:05, under the command of technical officer Asakura, the Solar Ray was fired. The resulting laser reached its target - the Great Degwin and the Federation main fleet - in three seconds, vaporizing the Great Degwin, Revil's flagship Phoebe, and a third of the entire Federation attack force. The transport carrying the Solar System, which was planned to be used during the attack on A Baoa Qu, was also destroyed. The laser beam was bright enough to be visible from Earth's equator.
Due to technical limitations, the Solar Ray was unable to be fired again for at least a week. As the war came to an end soon after, it was never fired again. Its fate after the end of the war is unknown, but the technology behind it was acquired by the Earth Federation Forces and used to construct the Gryps II colony laser.
- In the TV series, the Solar Ray was referred to as the "Solar System" several times. All later sources, such as the compilation movie, used the name "Solar Ray" to differentiate it from the Federation's Solar System.
- Also, the TV series stated the Solar Ray's output to be 8500 gigawatts per hour.