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Tampa Eco Entrepreneur, Construction Company Team Up

Ideas and inspiration often hit in unusual and distant places -- even the fields of Kyrgyzstan. 

At least that's what happened to Martin Clewis while working soybean fields alongside Kyrgyzstan farmers. He was forced to look for alternative power sources. It gave him an idea. When he returned home to Tampa, Clewis decided to open Eco Structures, a building contracting company that will provide solar-powered products to homeowners. And he is offering his services through JR Structures.

"I had just moved back from Central Asia growing soybeans with farmers there," explains Clewis. "What I noticed was their power needs were a challenge. It was through that experience that I got into alternate energy sources. So when we moved back to Tampa, I wanted to pursue that. My friend Jeff Darrey, who owns JR Structures, is interested in offering sustainable products and pursuing LEED certification for his commercial clients. So we came up with a plan to help each other."

Eco Structures will provide solar energy products that provide heated water, cooling and chemical maintenance for outdoor pools. 

"We're kind of taking a basket approach until we know what people are interested in," says Clewis. Products Eco Structures will offer include a water-based solar product that recirculates energy from the AC unit, and a solar chlorine generator that uses $10 worth of salt a year to generate chlorine from the salt through electrolysis. 

Clewis says he is still in the process of acquiring licenses and is currently working on building his website. But he is hoping that Eco Structures will evolve to the point where he can offer products that are not only sustainable, but aesthetically pleasing. 

"You can make artistic designs on panels like the ones used on solar-powered vehicles," says Clewis. "That goes beyond what most solar contractors can do. But that's what I'm really interested in, installing solar panels on a house with transparencies that provide dapple shade, and shaded areas around pools. They can look nice if you have an eye for it."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Martin Clewis, Eco Structures
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