Experience in using simulation software for teaching solar energy and heat pump applications are presented at the Eurosun 2016 conference. The authors discuss suitable didactic concepts specifically developed for teaching renewable energy and energy efficiency topics. Two main advantages of applying simulation software in solar education are identified: 1) simulation can provide an understanding of data that is otherwise not accessible (e.g. cumulated operating hours and number of starts of a heat pump depending on control strategy); 2) use of simulation software in teaching have a positive influence on the motivation and attitude of the students. Finally, different international teaching programs are discussed, in which simulation software currently plays a major role. It is analyzed how education programs might have to be adjusted for different cultures and industries.