World solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations reached a record high of 1,744 megawatts (MW) in 2006, representing growth of 19% over the previous year.
Germany's grid connect PV market grew 16% to 960 Megawatts in 2006 and now accounts for 55% of the world market. While Japan's market size barely advanced last year, Spain and the United States were the strong performers. The Spanish market was up over 200% in 2006, while the US market grew 33%.
World solar cell production reached a consolidated figure of 2,204 MW* in 2006, up from 1,656 MW a year earlier. Japanese producers lost ground over the past 12 months, dropping from 46% to 39% share, to the benefit of Chinese cell manufacturers.
Polysilicon production rose 16% in 2006, which, when combined with aggressive PV industry procurement, allowed a marginally higher market growth rate than projected twelve months ago. Nonetheless, polysilicon supply issues will still constrain cell production in 2007.
In respect of industry pricing, 2006 was a year of transition. In the first six months, prices rose through the PV chain in most markets. However, by mid year, customer response led to falls particularly at the module factory gate in Europe.
Global industry revenues were $10.6bn in 2006, while capital investment through the PV business chain totalled $2.8bn. The industry raised over $4bn in equity and debt financing, up from $1.8bn the previous year.