A rooftop solar array planned for the Oak Bluffs fire station could offset electricity costs for the town, but unlike similar projects managed by Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, Oak Bluffs will pay about $20,000 in up-front costs as a result of limited funding.

Two weeks ago the Oak Bluffs selectmen voted unanimously to work with CVEC to install the solar panels, and to pay the legal and administrative costs. The cooperative expects the project to be finished by this time next year.

CVEC has worked with communities to install about 28.5 megawatts of solar capacity since 2007, including a number of solar arrays on the Vineyard. Oak Bluffs is among several communities, including Provincetown, Eastham and Chatham, to take part in the cooperative’s latest round of solar installations, which focus only on rooftop arrays.

The fire station project will generate power only for onsite use.

The $8.3 million fire station was completed in 2015, with 20,000 square feet of space, including a training room, emergency operations center and space for all of the town’s fire trucks, ambulances and support vehicles.

CVEC manager of programs and administration Liz Argo said the solar project will likely not satisfy all of the department’s energy needs, although it was too soon to know for sure.

As part of the agreement with the town, a third party vendor will build the new array, and own and maintain it for 10 or 20 years, depending on the contract.

Ms. Argo said the Cape Light Compact, a regional energy service provider that works with CVEC, had provided startup funds in the past, but those funds were eliminated in 2015. As a result, she said, participating communities must now reimburse the cooperative for initial legal and administrative costs.

She said the project in Oak Bluffs could pay for itself within seven years, with revenue from the energy produced going to the vendor and the town benefitting primarily from lower energy bills.

It also was too soon to say what the project would cost, although Ms. Argo estimated a range of $15,000 to $1 million. She said maintenance might cost about $5,000 per year. Eversource Energy, which provides energy to the Island, will charge a monthly fee of $5 for the solar array, she said, but will not charge for the energy itself.

The Oak Bluffs selectmen had discussed managing the project independently, but favored working with CVEC, which they said was as a one-time opportunity to hand off the investment to a third party. “It seems like we have a lot of work going forward to try to figure out how to do it ourselves,” selectman Kathy Burton said.

Ms. Argo said CVEC projects might not save more money over time, compared to independent projects. “It’s about a break-even,” she said. But she also stressed the value of having an experienced project manager and round-the-clock service.

CVEC also manages solar projects at the former landfills in West Tisbury and Vineyard Haven, at Katama Farm and the Nunnepog well area in Edgartown, and elsewhere on the Island.