I'd now like to turn the call over to Mr. Miao Liansheng. Please begin.
Welcome to our call everyone. Thank you for joining us today. In the second quarter, we increased module shipment volumes by 13.7% over the previous quarter and achieved a gross margin of 4.6%. We managed to keep our growing momentum despite the significant pressure from the feed-in-tariff adjustment in Germany, the ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations in the U.S. and continued excessive module supply.
Our shipment volume results in the first half of the year have exceeded our expectations. Based on public information, we have become the global leader as measured by module shipment volumes among all module manufacturers. We expect to maintain this leadership in the second half of this year.
In Europe, we successfully navigated the policy uncertainty and benefited from the pull-in demand before feed-in-tariff adjustments in Germany. Due to the expiration of the cash grant program, the U.S. market experienced substantial demand by all segments in the first quarter. Total installation volumes nearly doubled the first quarter of 2011. In the second quarter, the U.S. market continued to show solid demand across all segments.
Demand gradually increased in the second quarter as the installation of utility scale projects in northwestern China and the Golden Sun Program have accelerated. Importantly, we expect to see a significant increase of demand in the second half of this year, especially from September to November. By leveraging our strategic planning, solid customer base and broad sales networks in our domestic market, we’re confident to achieve our shipment targets in China this year.
In addition to our aforementioned market share gains, we have continued to drive costs down throughout our value chain by making consistent technical improvements. For example, enhanced ingot casting techniques have contributed to the improvement of wafer quality and subsequently drive higher cell efficiency.