Isn't this how Labs have been built for years?
I know several colleges that take this route to source cheap Powervaults for storage, and write off the electric cost as OpEx. There are some that even schedule cast-offs from other organisations into their own upgrade cycle for things like switches.
It isn't always the best solution, but sometimes when budget is extremely tight (Charities, cash-strapped Uni departments, teaching / testing labs) and time is not at a premium it is a viable option.
With a little shrewd work, it is possible to obtain a perfectly usable lab with minimal CapEx outlay